Dance programme on the precipice of tradition

Venkat Raman – 

Classical Indian Dance will seek a new dimension and achieve a higher level of experiment and appreciation as an event goes on stage in Melbourne next month.

Organised by Karma Dance Inc, one of the foremost institutions promoting Indian Classical dance across the Tasman, the Programme, titled, ‘In Pure Sanskrit,’ will be held next month at the Performance Space, Footscray Community Arts Centre in Footscray, Melbourne.

The three-day event, commencing on Friday, July 17 at 7 pm, is a collaboration between Govind Pillai, a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, and Raina Peterson, a trained Mohini Attam and Kathakali (two great dance forms of Kerala) dancer and a writer.

Cultural Crossroads

According to Govind, although Indian Classical Dance has acquired a lot of paraphernalia over the years with elaborate costumes, jewellery and other modern embellishments, it is still called traditional art.

“In reality, it began in the Temples of South India as a humble practice done in front of Gods. This new programme pokes at the edges of tradition and kicks up the ashes of history as we strip away the paraphernalia of classical Indian dance and look into its heart to find its bare spiritual core,” he said.

Govind believes that what the audience would see ultimately is what they imagine as classical Indian dance.

Important Question

In that sense, those watching the Programme will be challenged to ask ‘What really is tradition?’ as they will be juxtaposed between old ideas of classical Indian dance, and new ideas,” he said.

‘In Pure Sanskrit,’ would have a blend of traditional concepts and modern choreography delivered by a young generations of youth artists who are dancers and choreographers.

Govind and Raina will be supported by Anita Das (Violin), Venkat Ramakrishnan (Mridungam), Kasthuri Sahathevan (Vocal), Kersherka Sivakumaran (Nattuvangam) and Kavita Peterson (Japanese Taiko Drum).

Established in 2010 as a not-for-profit dance company, Karma Dance Inc aims to create new and innovate dance works based on classical and contemporary Indian dance ideas.

With a record of sell-out performances, festival appearances internationally, as well as a teaching academy for children and adults, the Company is in a class of its own.

Govind said that the Company has created Classical Indian Dance Education programmes especially for Australian schools.

The Programmes have been adopted by more than 20 primary schools across Australia.

Photo :

Govind Pillai and Raina Peterson in the latest production


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