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2019-09-20 08:00 PM
2019-09-20 08:00 PM
An evening of Bharatanatyam with Mallika Sarabhai and Revanta Sarabhai
Challenging tradition and going beyond the realm of mythology, the scintillating mother-son duo of Mallika and Revanta Sarabhai present a classical Bharatanatyam margam. Tracing their journey from the early days of the art form in the historic temples of Tanjavur and Chidambaram to present times using Bharatanatyam to tell contemporary narratives, this hour-long spectacle showcases the versatility and aliveness of the pandanallur style.
Bharatanatyam traditionally speaks of devotion and the search to be united with the Supreme being, of the atma and paramatma. The lyrics are usually from the point of view of the heroine, the nayika, searching for a male god. However, the style is a living one and a language of great sophistication. In this performance Mallika and Revanta present both traditional pieces and new ones, written for today’s world, addressing pressing issues that we face today.
Mallika Sarabhai has been one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers for over four decades. In constant demand as a soloist and with her own dance company, Darpana, she has been creating and performing both classical and contemporary works. She has also produced over 3000 hours of television work talking of issues of the environment, women, communal harmony and violence, using the most popular genres of TV. She has a Ph.D. in Organisational Behaviour and has been honorary Director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for 40 years.
She first came to international notice when she played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata for 5 years, first in French and then English, performing in France, North America, Australia, Japan and Scotland.
Always an activist for societal education and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for social change. In 1989 she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. Since then Mallika has created numerous stage productions which have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues and advocated change, several of which productions have toured internationally as well as throughout India.
In the mid-90s Mallika began to develop her own contemporary dance vocabulary and went on to create short and full-length works which have been presented in India and over 50 other countries.
Revanta is a dancer, choreographer and actor, and forms the third generation of artists from the legendary Sarabhai family, after his grandmother Mrinalini and mother Mallika Sarabhai. Having made his solo classical dance debut at age 8, he has been performing professionally and touring internationally with the Darpana Performance Group as well as independently since 1999. Over the years, Revanta has matured as a classical dancer bringing tremendous energy, masculinity and charisma to the stage, along with excellent technique in both nritta and abhinaya. In recent years, Revanta has developed a unique repertoire of Bharatanatyam pieces, breaking outside the boundaries of tradition, and tackling themes that are relevant to the society and times we live in —presenting the classical form in a refreshing manner to young and modern audiences the world over.
Revanta started his Bharatanatyam training at the age of 5 at the Darpana Academy under the mentorship of his grandmother and mother. Revanta trained under Smt. Gayatri Balagurunathan, Smt. Kamala Rani, and most significantly Guru Smt. Maheshwari Nagarajan, completing his arengetram, or aradhana, as it is known at Darpana, at the age of 14. He continued pursuing his training in the classical dance style in a dedicated fashion, alongside his experimenting with choreography, combining aspects of classical dance with innovative contemporary movement. Over the years, Revanta has performed several Bharatanatyam productions choreographed by both Mrinalini and Mallika Sarabhai, including many famous dance-dramas such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Kumara Sambhava, Meghadoota, Nalakhyan, and Shakuntalam. Revanta has performed at several prestigious festivals and venues both in India and abroad, including the
Sangeet Natak Akademi Nritya Pratibha (Jodhpur), Nalanda Nrityotsav (Mumbai), Jaya Smriti (Mumbai), Purush Festival (Mumbai), Kala Ghoda (Mumbai), Sawai Gandharva (Pune), Poona Music Society (Pune), India Habitat Centre (New Delhi), India International Centre (New Delhi), DIAF (Delhi), Nehru Centre (Mumbai), Nehru Centre (London), Bharati Vidhya Bhavan (Chennai), Saptak Festival (Ahmedabad), Erasing Borders (New York), Dakshina Festival (Washington DC), Alchemy Festival (London), Daredevas Festival (London), Centre Mandappa (Paris), and Cadance Festival (Netherlands) amongst others.
Since 2010, Revanta has been developing a unique new repertoire of Bharatanatyam pieces that stay true to the classical form, yet explore modern themes that are relevant to society today. Under the guidance of Mallika Sarabhai, writing original poems in English and translating them to classical Tamil, Revanta’s new pieces in the form of varnams and padams present subjects as diverse as long-distance relationships, the environment and it’s destruction, globalisation and other such contemporary topics, all within the classical context. In breathing new life into the Bharatanatyam form, Revanta has been successful in bringing a fresh context to the classical dance and making it popular among a younger modern audience both in India as well as abroad.
Revanta holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with honours) at the University of the Arts (USA) as well as a Masters in Performance and Creative Research from Rohampton University (UK).