The dance drama Shakti is an interactive performance between Odissi and Yakshagana art forms
Two distinctly different art forms, Odissi and Yakshagana, come together in the dance drama Shakti, a one-of-its-kind experiment by the city-based Rangaratha Theatre Group. This 75-minute performance is directed by Aasif Kshathriya, and explores the mythical tale of Raavana and Shiva.
Sahana R Maiya, an Odissi dance exponent and Shwetha Shrinivas, a trained Yakshagana artiste bring to stage this innovative piece. “Shakti is about nature and the energy we derive from it. With this thought in mind, we chose to perform Shiva’s Atmalinga story,” says Sahana.
The piece opens with the Vinayaka choreography, and is followed by a jugalbandi between the two dancers. What’s interesting is how Yakshagana that’s predominantly a masculine dance is blended with the graceful Odissi. “Some of the Yakshagana steps are set to Odissi music,” explains Sahana, adding, “The jugalbandi will be followed with the ardha nadishwara performance, and an interaction between the characters —Raavana and Shiva — which is a conversation sans steps. The act concludes with the moksha (salvation) performances in Odissi and Yakshagana.” Talking about why he chose to work on this concept of combining two different forms, Asif adds, “I always thought there needs to be an interaction between two art forms on stage.”
Circle of life
The stage for Shakti is designed to be circular and audiences will sit around it. The 360 degree stage offers a three-dimensional view. “We wanted not just the performers, but also the audience to soak up the concept, therefore, we created a circle-shaped stage. It’s also important for the audience to get a complete view of the dancers,” explains the director.
The dancers offer their point of view about the circular stage, saying it helps in drawing energy from all around them. “The stage symbolises the circle of energy which implies we derive shakti from everywhere, from the stage and from the audience,” enthuses Sahana. With this act that combines elements of the two dance forms and highlights the lesser-known story of Shiva and Raavana, the artistes hope people understand the meaning behind it. “The depiction of different shades of power and how it needs to be used judiciously is one of the significant messages of this show,” signs off Sahana.
Rs 200. January 4, 7.30 pm.
At Vyoma Artspace and Studio Theatre, JP Nagar