A recent musical event at ICCR presented a unique blend of classical dance, poetry and music on the Capital stage. The event was held on 5 July was an Indo-American vision conceptualised by Viijayalakshmi, known as one of the most eminent exponent’s of the Mohiniyattam dance form. Viijayalakshmi performed to a new choreographic work, inspired by Sudeep Sen’s critically acclaimed book of poetry called Rain with music by Mac Quayle, a Los Angeles based Grammy nominee for Donna Summer.
The audience got a chance to experience an unique blend of a composition performed through dance, music, and poetry. The composition used Mohiniyattam to interpret and express the feeling of rain. The music included a seamless blend of world music which consisted of Kerala rhythms, Dhrupad, Rabindra Sangeet and other contemporary elements.
Last but not the least, the framework was provided by English poet Sudeep Sen, which helped to form an instant connection with the non Indians at the event, making it easier for them to comprehend the performance.
Vijayalakshmi and Mac Quayle worked very closely to convert this concept into a musical arrangement. Dhrupad has been incorporated into Mohiniyattam for the first time. And the part of the Rabindra Sangeet was sung by Vijayalaxmi herself. Vijayalaxmi personally enjoys and loves English poetry and has been passionate about reading English poetry since her childhood, which she finds inspiring, evocative and multicultural.
‘The idea of this composition was to break the cliché of repetition and to think out of the box and this 50 minute routine took bits which express her feelings.’ said Vijayalakshmi. Also there was no plan for a script to be included in this idea, it just evolved.
It was furthered by her collaboration with artistic director Sara Baur-Harding from Los Angeles, who is an artist and a documentary filmmaker.
On the whole, the show’s adaptation, the choreography, direction, music design and vocal was by Vijayalakshmi, artistic director- Sara Baur-Harding, music arrangement by Mac Quayle, and poetry and narration by Sudeep Sen.
The unique and beautiful tones of the composition left the audience mesmerised and talking about the concept with awe and appreciation.