Memories are the essence of time. Every human being has his own set of experiences which s/he jots down in the brain to enrich his experience through time. The dance drama In Retrospect, directed by dance practitioner and actor Swati Mohan, at the Epicentre Gurgaon on Tuesday and Wednesday brought together an ensemble of memories relived and introspected upon by a medley of dance students from Danza Performing Arts.
Swati says, ‘It started as a memory of an event which was a turning point last year. I never thought that I would make it a wholehearted production. It was also about this law of cause and effect that worked for this production since there was nothing planned but everything fell into place automatically’.
The show began with the protagonists Swati, Archana Chaturvedi and Virkein Dhar ticking away like the hands of a clock while moving to the rhythm of poignant electronic music. They did not just tap their feet but also performed contractions and ballet spins while the storyline moved through ‘blue stained time’.
‘The experience was really healing for me as it took me to places I had not been to in some time. I met with an accident last August and that’s how the opening piece came about. Somehow I feel looking back at things gives you another perspective and you start feeling lighter about them. It was fun and left all of us light hearted’, adds Swati while describing the experience.
The storyline involves these three characters who belong to different generations but share the same experience. The cord that connects them is their memories. The line between reality and fiction blurs as the protagonists play themselves on stage and engage the audience directly through short theatrical gigs placed between different dance performances.
Out of the different memories shared on stage, some were of parents, some of first love followed by heartbreak, some of friends and of the days when everyone around you can sense a strong generation gap while you lose yourself in your self-righteous frenzy. It almost reminded everyone that generational differences have existed throughout history.
A collection of sepia-toned family photographs of Danza students was projected on stage and evoked nostalgia. It was amusing to see how a photograph in itself becomes a memory, a shared experience by the privileged ones in this technological age.
A total of seven groups comprising 60 dancers from various age groups pirouetted with balance and energy while popular numbers played in the backdrop.
A group of children performed to the popular tunes of Kailash Kher’s Maa and Boney M’s Daddy Cool and brought alive memories of seeking comfort in a mother’s deep love and spending playful moments with the father. In a celebration of friendship, girls from different age groups danced while Delhi-based band L for Vendetta played numbers like Remembrandt’s I’ll be there for you.
Other groups danced to numbers like Lykke Li’s Possibility, Anastacia’s Love is a crime and Lady Gaga’s Born this way. The performances were choreographed by Rakesh MPS and Archana along with Swati.
Swati, who is also the founder and creative director of Danza Performing Arts, sums up: ‘For me, a closure has happened. A closure to an era, be it in my personal life, in the life of my students or with Danza. I sense a new beginning with this closure.'