Celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Rentia Baras, that falls on September 30 this year, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Ahmedabad Kendra brings a novel feast of Gandhi – Warp and Weft performance to the city. Padma Shri Geeta Chandran, who was recently voted Delhi’s ‘hottest’ dancer, will be performing.
Gandhi: Warp and Weft explores and revisits Gandhian values through the narrative lens of a female dancer in the 21st century. The choreography plays with ideology through abstract movement and emotive gestures, and fuses vocabulary of both classical and contemporary dance. The performance comprises six concepts: the first concept is religious unity and linked to spiritual syncretism. The second, celibacy, probes into Gandhi’s lifelong experiment to set aside desires of the flesh while remaining an active householder and husband. The third is Satyagraha, and is inspired by Gandhi’s prison writings. The fourth piece explores Ahimsa, while the fifth is on caste and shram. The concluding section Khadi examines Gandhi’s belief for ecological sustainability and balance.
I’m disheartened by the eroding values among Geeta is known for imparting dance education, activism and dance-issue journalism through specialised choreography. Her acclaimed dance-theatre production Kaikeyi and choreography on the themes of drugs have thrown the spotlight on social stigma. Her work Mythology Retold addresses the social curse of female feticide. She is also known for using classical Bharatanatyam to sensitise viewers on gender and environmental issues.
Youth and the growing materialism in our middle class society.
We’ve reached a phase where the brand and number of cars outside our door has become more important than the number of birds singing in our balcony. It is this angst that has propelled this work. I admire Gandhi for being a leader of human beings; he thought differently and inspired millions to follow him. Yet within a few decades Gandhi’s valuable heritage is at risk of being erased. And I have attempted to perpetuate his ideology through dance.
SPECIAL INSIGHT ON GANDHI
My focus is on when Gandhi was in jail. That solitude is what generated in him his wealth of radical ideas. I spent hours at the Gandhi Smriti in Delhi and looked at his photo archives. That is one section where I become Gandhi – in a biographical sense. I enjoyed integrating Gandhi in my physicality in that section.
A MESSAGE FOR THE YOUTH
The production targets the youth. I want young people to be inspired by Gandhi’s ideals. I want them to reject mindless materialism and focus on missions of sustainable development, of rejecting violence, of giving our rural identity a voice.
The write up appeared in Ahmedabad Mirror on Sept, 28 2013