CHOREOGRAPHY IN THE INDIAN CONTEXT-Part 2
However, choreography can only come after a base is built within you. First and foremost you must master the form and technique and have a strong command over it. Beyond this, you must have motivation, a need to create, then a concept of design for a theme. It must have dynamics translated to the technique you are using. Then the work must contain a rhythm, but by rhythm we don’t mean ‘taal’. The rhythm of the universe, the rhythm of life. And lastly, the work must contain a complete vision, a beginning, middle and an end.
For me, this exercise was traumatic in the beginning. We talk about dreams coming true but with me they were not dreams, they were nightmares. Fortunately for me, these nightmares took the form of imagination, leading to creativity. Once I overcame the initial fear, I soon found that I enjoyed the process as much as the outcome. I discovered a whole world of movement, from within and in the space outside.
How do new patterns emerge? I believe that an energy within you sprouts into a new form that takes a variety of shapes and shades, one single image leads to a whole new pattern of movements.
While choosing a theme, most choreographers draw stories from mythology. Presentations based on these stories are easiest to sell to the audiences because they are familiar with these themes. The end result is a popular and acceptable programme.
But choreography is not about acceptability; it is about unique individual expression. The main concern is to stretch the viewers mind to create vision that provokes thoughts. It is from the depth of tensions and sorrows that the urgency to face life with a new fervor emerges.
There is no opportunity for a formal training in choreography in this country. Most choreographers of today are working out of a compulsion for looking at their dance styles in a new light. Solo dancers in this country who have been on the stage for 30 or more years have borne the brunt of substandard stages, bad lighting, poor quality of sound systems and also many a time, audiences who did not have their priorities right in their appreciation of the dance.
I was one of the victims so I began to wonder why I should dance at all? Solo Kathak dance did not excite me any more because it had developed too much gimmickry to it. However, I was deeply rooted in dance and the technique of Kathak itself was very artistic and complete. The way it was presented needed a lot of consideration. A performance needs to embody a certain dignity and finesse. This was my very first commitment to the presentation of Kathak. In my vision, I saw the entire stage filled with dancers, patterns of colours, music which had musicality and not just an accompanying element.
To work alone in the field of choreography is not possible. One needs trained dancers who share your ideas. Working with other dancers is much like living under one roof with a family. The equation, the space factor, vibrations and relationships must be taken into serious consideration.
You are no longer performing solo. You belong to a larger image where dance gives shape to ideas and where one grows as a human being through creativity.