Bharatanatyam artistes, Renjith and Vijna share their experiences of dancing together and working on productions for Apsaras Arts. An Interview…

Having watched ensemble work at the Kalakshetra, what is your relationship with ensemble work?

For us, it is the coming together of dancing bodies to showcase an idea of the choreographer. It is about building a team that is capable of effectively expressing the choreographer’s vision. The important aspect of an ensemble work is not about bringing forth the individuality and ego of each dancer, but to be united with each other so that justice is done in bringing forth the conceived idea.

As artistes, who largely perform together, envisaging space for two, how do things change when it comes to an ensemble?

The difference is, two dancing bodies to many dancing bodies in the given space, which leads to change in the energy of a duet to a larger group. The similarity would be, unity and co-ordination amongst the dancers. In an ensemble work, there is more scope to explore because of the presence of many performers.

In my experience of creating duet works for ourselves, we lay a lot of emphasis on using each of our individual strengths without letting either of us be dominant. However, the success of the final output whether it is duet or group really depends on the artistic choices made by the choreographer.

You have watched Apsaras Arts productions in the past; what are some of the striking features of their work?

We appreciate the company’s excellent vision and striking ideas, when it comes to stage presentation. Aravinth Kumarasamy is a versatile artiste and his way of presenting the script and narration, facilitates ease in visualisation and execution for the choreographer/ music composer and other artistes who are involved in the creation process. We are always amazed and in awe of how they bring large scale dance productions to the audience.

You have been associated with Agathi and Anjaneyam; can you first tell us about Agathi and how the choreography process was like?

Agathi – I (Renjith) was the guest choreographer for this production. Firstly, the theme was very moving and educational. I was very impressed with the way Aravinth Kumarasamy narrated the script to me, since it helped a lot to envision the choreographic ideas with ease.

It was also a great learning for us, as we got to understand in-depth, the challenges and hardships faced by the refugees.

What about Anjaneyam? It’s considered such a mammoth production; what did it require from you as dancers-choreographers and how was the experience?

Anjaneyam – I(Renjith) was the rehearsal director for this production and also choreographed a few sequences of this mammoth work of Apsaras Arts. I would call it the experience of watching a Broadway musical. It was my first time working with a huge group of varied artistes from the world of dance, music and stage craft. I will always cherish the experience, lessons and memories that were made while working for Anjaneyam.

What are you currently working on?

I am at present, re-visiting some of the earlier duet works with the hope to present them in a new light. Along with this, we also have some new themes in the pipeline.

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Devata: Guardians of Dance

BLK D Goodman Arts Centre

#01-24 90 Goodman Road Singapore 439053