Friday, 5 November 2021

Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer Divya Ravi has been producing some interesting content from her home during the lockdown. Along with her Carnatic vocalist husband Dr. Sharan Subramaniam, she has produced some made-for-camera pieces that explore the new medium to the fullest. She is among the dancers I have seen in the past year who are not simply filming stage presentations at home, but developing a new way of thinking about choreography amid restrictions that make stage presentations impossible.

One of her recent works is ‘Kanhopatra’, an abridged version of a potentially full-length work about the Marathi courtesan-turned-Varkari poetess Kanhopatra. I spoke to Divya about filming works like that, and dancing for the camera.

What happens to these short made-for-camera productions in a post-pandemic future?
Kanhopatra is a work in progress. And I do intend, at some point, to build it into a full-fledged work for the stage –about an hour and 15 minutes. Right now, it’s only a 30-minute work. I have all the material ready with me for the stage; because I had to do it in a digital format, I had trimmed a lot of the content, mainly to reduce the time, considering the digital attention spans of the audience. Even musically, when I take it to the stage, it will be a full-fledged orchestra. So far, we have only used the voice with no other instrument.

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