by ASJAD NAZIR
DANCE ballet Swappnam: Dreams is straight from the heart of Chennai. The grand production conceived and scripted by Krithika Subrahmanian will be staged in London this month. Swappnam: Dreams includes a first-ever full-length composition for a classical dance production from cinematic music legend Isaignani Ilayaraaja. Some of the best South Indian music talent, including singers T V Gopalakrishnan and Sudha Raghunathan have given voice to Ilayaraja’s meticulously arranged tracks.
Eastern Eye caught up with dancer/choreographer Krithika Subrahmanian to talk about Swappnam: Dreams.
What first connected you to do dance?
I trained as a classical dancer from age seven. Then when I performed on stage from age 15, I was hooked to the thrill of performing the art and capturing audience’s imaginations. It is a brilliant mode of self-expression and communication.
What led you towards Swappnam: Dreams?
The subject of dreams as alternative reality of human consciousness always fascinated me, and I was yearning to present my interpretation of Shaivism as a realisation in connection with dreams.
Tell us more about the production?
The production is both fast-paced and contemplative at different points in time. It guides the audience through a journey of self-discovery and the realisation of Shiva as a primary anchor in Hinduism. The music is original and composed by the maestro, Ilayaraja.
How does this compare to your other projects?
The scale of the project was immense as the music involved 168 artists of great virtuosity. The greatest voices of Indian classical music have performed on it. The dance is choreographed in several classical traditions.
Tell us more about the music?
The music was complex to record and master. I was thrilled to have a personal involvement with the maestro. It was a result of engrossing discussions at a conceptual level between us that led to this dramatic soundtrack. It lent itself to great choreography because I had written the whole lot of directorial notes in one seamless script.
What can the audiences expect to see?
Audiences can expect stunning visual aesthetics in terms of costuming, lighting and stage dynamics. They can expect to be moved by self-realisation.
What is the secret of a great performance?
The secret of a great dance performance is to create a positive energised dynamic between the music, script, dance and engagement of audiences, in a path of self-reflection, after experiencing an outstanding high.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the content of Hindu scriptures viewed from the theosophist’s mind’s eye and an exploration of such thoughts presented in brilliant choreography.
Why do you love dance?
Dance is a great form of self-exploration and expression and makes me whole.
Why should we watch Swappnam: Dreams?
Dreams are the basis of self-discovery and often misinterpreted. In Swappnam you will see the dreams of the young and old along with ‘his’ dreams, ‘her’ dreams and their romance. You will see confusion, realisation and awakening. Swappnam will mirror your mind, wake you up and look into your soul. Swappnam will be that journey.
Swappnam: Dreams will be staged at Purcell Room, Southbank Centre in London on October 14. Visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk