Dancer Anuradha Venkataraman Interprets Dante Through The Mahabharata

Sometimes East Can Meet West As VIDEODANTE A Dance Production By Instabili Vaganti Proves

When dancer Anuradha Venkataraman opted for a residency program with Instabili Vaganti, an Italian theatre firm, she would have by no means anticipated that it might in the future give her an opportunity to interpret certainly one of Dante’s classics by means of the Mahabharata.

A classical dancer for nearly 25 years, Bengaluru-based Anuradha Venkataraman had been methods to develop on language of Bharatanatyam for years… “to go beyond the traditional margams.”

In 2015, Anuradha participated in a residency programme hosted by Instabili Vaganti, an Italian theatre firm, in India. “It was engaging and I found their thought and work processes fascinating. It was also a good learning experience,” she says.

Post the residency, collaborations with different members continued, finally taking over a distant video platform attributable to lockdown; a undertaking known as ‘Beyond Borders’ took form, connecting theatre practitioners, musicians, dancers and different artistes from completely different nations who had been concerned with Instabili Vaganti’s residencies.

“Since the year 2021 marked the 700th death anniversary of Dante, we were looking at his works and some of his poetry resonated with me; I felt an Indian connection to his work,” she says, including, “I found similarities between the Mahabharata and Dante’s descriptions of the inferno, purgatory and paradise in the Divine Comedy.”

This distant collaboration resulted in VIDEODANTE — a seven-episode net peformance sequence, every 5 minutes lengthy. Talking about her position within the undertaking, Anuradha says, “Upcoming episodes will feature my interpretations of Dante’s work through the Mahabharata.”

“For instance, in the second episode, ‘Beatrice’, Dante is trying to cross a river to get to the next rung of Hell. We have a similar concept of a river in Hell called Vaitaraṇi. There is a reference to it in the Mahabharata where the carnage on the battlefield is likened to the Vaitarani river. I have used these verses in ‘Beatrice.’ I have also incorporated verses from the Gita for this project,” she provides.

As ‘VIDEODANTE’ is a distant collaboration, there are segments the place motion (dance sequences) comes first and music is added relying on the musician’s response. Music for the undertaking has been composed by Riccardo Nanni; the Italian Cultural Centre in New Delhi will likely be selling the episodes as and when they’re launched over a interval of six months ending June.

The episodes might be seen as stand alone performances; at present, two episodes — ‘Dark Wood’ and ‘Beatrice’ — have been launched.



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