Jagriti presents Swartaal, a festival celebrating India’s rich traditions of music and dance

Jagriti's annual festival Swartaal is a celebration of the classical performance arts and the rich tradition of music, dance and theatre that has been honed over centuries in India

author_img Manasvi Pote Published :  15th September 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  15th September 2023 12:00 AM

Jagriti's annual festival Swartaal is a celebration of the classical performance arts and the rich tradition of music, dance and theatre that has been honed over centuries in India. As a performance space, Jagriti strives to support the classical arts giving Bengaluru audiences a chance to experience and support art forms that celebrate India’s rich artistic and cultural heritage. We catch up with three artistes performing at the upcoming edition of Swartaal to find out everything you need to know about the festival.

Prithvi Nayak

Tell us a bit about your upcoming performance planned for Swartaal?
I will be presenting pieces from a traditional odissi repertoire. However, they have all been reimagined by my guru, Bijayini Satpathy. The choreography pushes and, at times, breaks from conventional ways of responding to music, space and narrative.

Being a classical dancer, what are your views on the current fusion trend of contemporary and classical dance forms? Do you lean towards preserving the traditions and integrity of classical forms or embracing newer fusion styles?
I have a slightly contrarian view of the way the whole discourse is framed. The ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’ dichotomy is an inorganic one. Contemporary is not (exclusively) a dance form but a sensibility; and ‘traditional’ doesn’t necessarily mean something archaic or stuck in time.

Prithvi Nayak

Priyadarshini Ghosh

Can you let us in on what you have planned for your performance at the festival?
This presentation is designed on our ancient dramatic tradition of rupakas as described in the Natyasashtra. The solo format of storytelling is called a bhanika, an uparupaka. This is to portray that emotions, feelings and psychology are timeless and need not be restricted to just a ‘classical’ piece, it can be a past present continuum. Abhinaya is a unique feature of our performing arts, infused with rasa that resides in the realm of the spirit. I hope to translate the emotive content through action — angik; words and songs — vachik; aharya and most importantly the satvika, embodied representation for a successful rasa nispatthi, sharing a feel good factor with all. The performance will have elements of all the aspects of abhinaya, traditional dance pieces strung together with spoken word, verses and poetry; both ancient and modern. The performance will begin with a dedication of the artiste through the body accompanied by dhrupad alap sung live by Tara Kini and ends with her joining in live once again, representing the cycle of life.

Having worked with artistes globally who have a passion for dance, in what ways has your art changed you and how has it impacted your life?
Art is a language sans borders. No language is needed to enact and portray. My dance has been with me since I was four years old. This passion has fed my soul and continues to do so. It has helped me to deal with the adversities of life, balance the positivities and negativities. Today, these are what I bring to my students and inculcate the belief in power of the arts for well being.

Priyadarshini Ghosh

Sangeetha Sivakumar

Can you let us in on what we can expect from your performance at Swartaal?
I’ll be singing a typical carnatic music concert and usually a carnatic music concert features a good amount of the compositional (keerthanas) and improvisational (manodharmas) and you’ll surely find a good mix of both at my performance. I will be featuring famous compositions by the carnatic trinity.

Having been a keen learner and an inspiring teacher, what do you think are the nuances and changes that one requires to transition from the role of a student to a teacher?
I strongly believe, we, as teachers need to rethink how we teach this art form because over centuries it has become this ancient art form that has this divinity attached to it that has resulted in a barrier. For example, what my teacher learnt from her gurus was very different to the social system that exists today. The way we interact with our own students is very different, the conversation is much more open in talking about most issues.

Sangeetha Sivakumar

INR 500. September 22 to 24, 7.30 pm. At Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield.

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