Friday 4 May 2018

Roses and Thorns - Is anybody concerned? - Ileana Citaristi

It does not happen so frequently to leave a hall in a disturbed state of mind during a performance and when it happens a strong reason must exist. It happened to me few days ago, but before describing the circumstances, let me introduce the matter. 

We are quite accustomed nowadays to see the makings and re-makings of dance items which, originally created for solo dancing, are being split into groups, duets, diagonal formations, alternate rendering, fused with other pieces and what not. I am not sure if this happens in other dance styles as well but in Odissi it seems to be the heaven for aspiring choreographers. Take one solo item, break it up, change it a little here and there according to whatever you remember or whatever you need and present it as group choreography. There is still a little bit of reserve in announcing the credits (original choreographer may be given credit in spite of all the distortions or alterations) but that’s all. It seems everything is admissible and permitted.

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1 comment:

  1. Katherine Kunhiraman1 June 2018 at 10:35

    I think every dance teacher living abroad is guilty of this, to a greater or lesser degree. I am also guilty, but I remind my students and the audiences that this, Bharatanatyam, is a solo style and we are forced to the group innovations in order to include more dancers. Even in India, most students aspire to perform, whether they are trained enough or not, to share with their friends and family, and I understand that desire. We have seen this happening with Bharatanatyam for a long time now, both in India and abroad. Sometimes it is quite wonderful, as in Rukmini Devi's version of Geeta Govindam, and sometimes it is a torture to watch barely trained students limp through a tillana. But there it is. We always give credit to the original choreographer, and explain how a piece went from a solo to a large group in our hands. It is important for soloists to keep dancing solo, lest the world forget how these dances first came to light.
    Recently someone asked us to put up a piece for a cultural night. I said I would try to round up four or five dancers to do a jatiswaram or tillana, and he exclaimed, "Oh, good! A group! the last time we invited someone it was just one dancer alone! How can you call that a Bharatanatyam, with only one dancer?"
    "Well, that happens to be what it is supposed to be." I replied.