Indian Classical

COVID-19: A unique online initiative ‘Art For a Cause’ to be held on May 1

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The unique online initiative ‘Art For a Cause’, to be held on May 1, will surely be a visual treat

Kuchipudi dancer Avijit Das’ (founder of KimAham School of Dance) online initiative on May 1 brings together 19 artistes, all for a cause. The idea of this fund-raising initiative came up during a chat with migrant workers living near his house in Bengaluru. He recalls, “I used to provide drinking water to them; referring to food they said, ‘We do not know what will happen to us after a week, whether we will survive or not,’ That statement hit me badly.”

Marathon performances

He changed his mind of not performing during the lockdown and reached out to almost 100 artistes including musicians, mridangam and flute players and violinists across India, asking them to join him on this special campaign. “Though I am a Kuchipudi dancer, I didn’t want to be restricted to only this form of dance,” says Avijit. Now 19 artistes from different fields — Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Oddissi and Sattriya as well as a vocalist, mridangam, violin and flute players will be performing virtually, for this campaign, ‘Art for a cause’.

The performances spread from 9 am to 6 pm, can be viewed on Instagram @kimahamdance live by various artists.

The theme is Nature but performers can come up with their own ideas too. Avijit’s performance begins with a small tarangam depicting how Krishna removes obstacles to protect his devotees and ends with a tillana of hope. “The situation is bad but the tillana reminds us to be hopeful of coming out of this crisis and live in the present moment.”

The initiative goes beyond performances. Professional psychologist Vinod Kevin Bachan participates in another segment on how to cope with anxiety. He mentions, “This is especially for those stuck alone in the pandemic and are not able to travel to their hometowns. They miss their families and have to cope up with loneliness.”

Special event

For Hyderabad-based young Kuchipudi dancer Shloka Reddy, it is an unique opportunity to do her bit for the cause. Daughter of renowned dancer Deepika Reddy, her piece is on Nature, including flora, fauna and animals. She says, “It is hope during the difficult times to look at the bright side and see that the earth is healing.” The piece is from a production she did with her mother as a eight-year-old called Prakriti Rakshati Rakshitaha. It was choreographed by her mother, who has now re-choreographed it to suit the current theme. “Instagram live on phone is kind of tricky due to spacing. Also I was a kid when I performed this piece with my mother. Now I understand the words more and it gives me hope that the situation will all get better soon.”

Abhinaya in focus

Earlier Indian classical dancers performed in a courtyard or on open platforms and the concept of performing on stage came pretty late. Avjit feels dancing in a room is an opportunity to do something new. He cites examples of earlier dancers performing in front of oil lamps and communicating even to laymen through their abhinaya . “It’s a mark of their high calibre,” he says and adds, “We are so used to focus and spot lights on stage. It will be interesting to perform under a tubelight at home. The focus is on delivering abhinaya which people understand.”

Line-up of artistes

9 am: Guru Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran (Bharatanatyam)

9.30 am : Ayswaria Wariar (Mohiniyattam)

10 am: Yashoda Thakore (Kuchipudi)

10.30 am : Abhishek N S (Carnatic vocal)

11 am : Avijit Das (Kuchipudi)

11.30 am : Madhulita Mohapatra (Odissi)

12 pm : Sholka Reddy (Kuchipudi)

12.15 pm : Madhumathi Kulkarni Neelamraju (Kuchipudi)

12.30 pm : Vivek V Krishna (flute)

1 pm: Uttiya Barua (Bharatanatyam )

1.30 pm: Rupanshi Kashyap (Kathak)

2 pm : Gowri Sagar (Bharatanayam)

2.30 pm: Vinay Nagarajan M and Arjun Srivatsa (mridangam & vocal)

3 pm: Vinod Kevin Bachan (discussion on anxiety)

3.30 pm: Anwesa Mahanta (Sattriya)

4 pm: Hari Chethna (Kathak)

4.30 pm: Pranav Manjunath (violin)

5 pm: Pallavi Krishnan (Mohiniyattam )

5.30 pm: Praveen Kumar (Bharatanatyam)

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