Bharatanatyam dancer Bhavajan Kumar to present compositions by poets from the past and present
Bharatanatyam exponent Bhavajan Kumar will present human emotions while also touching upon themes of devotion, surrender and existential crisis
Blessed with a captivating stage presence, precision in movement and a deep devotion to bharatanatayam, Bhavajan Kumar is a natural artiste with an innate understanding of the art he practices. Born in Canada, his passion for dance took him to India to pursue it further. As an artiste, Bhavajan is keen on presenting the art with sincerity, keeping its spiritual essence intact. He believes there is no end to learning. He continues to discover the intricacies of the art and strives to adhere to its aesthetic beauty.
Ahead of his performance in the city as part of O2 Rendezvous with Art, we caught up with Bhavajan for a quick chat. Presented by Alchemy Arts & Education Foundation, O2 Rendezvous with Art is a recently launched performing arts series that presents diverse artistes every month, with an aim to weave together a community of artistes, who directly engage with art audiences.
Also read: Preethi Athreya’s 'Inheritage' is a unique multifaceted exhibition
Your show in Chennai is titled Samagathi — in search of the Divine. Please tell us more about it.
I will be presenting compositions by poets from the past and present — all with the theme of search for love, devotion and surrender. I have chosen four standalone pieces to explore for the evening. The first is a benediction to goddess Andal, who is known for her clarity in thought and total surrender to her ultimate goal. A traditional varnam follows where the protagonist is in a state of separation from her lover, with the theme of the piece surrounding the idea of her longing to be united with him. The third piece is an Ashtapadi where Sri Krishna has returned to Radha after a night of dalliances with other women. The concluding piece is dedicated to Kumbakonam Sarangapani temple, where the poet sings about his existential crisis.
What draws you to bharatanatyam? What inspires you when you compose a piece?
I enjoy allowing my body to find expression through the music. Through bharatanatyam, I get to explore the variety of human emotions by entering the psyche of another. I also enjoy discovering poetry written centuries ago that still have relevance in today’s world.
What are your views about Chennai as an art city, especially with regard to traditional dance forms?
Chennai is a melting pot of various cultures and traditions. The arts thrive here and post lockdown, there have been some wonderful initiatives to make the art available in more intimate spaces for chamber concerts.
Also read: Enjoy 'Om-Mani-Padme-Hum' & Svarupa & Vyakta' at KCC this weekend
Do you think the audience has grown to have a better understanding of bharatanatyam?
Yes, social media has made it more widely accessible and even created an interest within the younger generations. Bharatanatyam isn’t something that’s considered archaic or irrelevant. We can even see young audiences turning up for events now which is very heart-warming, to say the least.
What would you like to tell youngsters who want to learn bharatanatyam/ pursue a career in it?
Enjoy every moment of the journey and not just the idea of the destination. Everyone has their own unique story, so follow your heart. Faith and patience will go a long way!
Rs 200. 26 February, 6 pm.Alchemy Blackbox