Aparna Satheesan's new production 'Amma' is an ode to motherhood
America-based dancer Aparna Satheesan is a classical dancer and choreographer expert in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam.
KOCHI: Aparna Satheesan lives and breathes dance. The Thiruvananthapuram native, who is settled in the US for the past 10 years, is a classical dancer and choreographer expert in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam.
With over 25 years of experience in the field, Aparna has come up with a production titled Amma, an emotional narrative on the postpartum journey as seen through the eyes of a new mother.
A disciple of veteran dancer Padma Bhushan Dhanajayan, Aparna said the project aims to spread awareness about women’s mental health and wellness postpartum, and how families and society can support them.
“The 45-minute long dance production will premiere in Atlanta, the USA on January 22, 2022, under the banner of Soorya Performing Arts, a USA-based organization. Amma has been a long-term wish of mine. I wanted to feature the bonding between a mother and child. I have used the Tamil song Chinna Chirichu Kiliye penned by veteran Tamil poet Bharathiyar to go with the performance,” she said. Aparna loves to experiment with traditional dance moves without disturbing their structure. She claims that Amma would be such a reinvention.
Aparna, a new mother herself, felt personally close to Amma. While giving birth to a baby is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life, childbirth also comes with the danger of conditions like post-partum depression. “The baby blues usually peak during the first week after delivery, but for some people, it may stay longer. Presenting this theme was a challenge in itself and I was doubtful of the acceptance such a subject would get in a classical performance. I have explored the pangs of a new mother through navarasas,” says Aparna.
In Amma, a new mother, who was extroverted and cheerful, struggles to cope up with the new phase of her life. The mood swings, loneliness, anger and irritability have been portrayed through navarasas. “Though I had no postpartum issues I struggled to raise my baby who was born during the first lockdown. I was alone in the US with my husband Hari and our parents had no means to help due to travel restrictions. I have also showcased how husbands can help their wives during such tough phases,” adds Aparna.
The dancer was also a former video and radio jockey and a dubbing artist. She has performed in over 500 venues, including the Heartland Film festival and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in India and abroad. She has also bagged the Natya Shiromani National Award by India festival, USA and the Abhinandan Saroja Award by National Institute of Indian Classical Dance.
Find teaser to Amma on YouTube: Aparna Satheeshan Samyoga