Gandhian philosophy through lens of Geeta

Feted as one of the most creative act of recent times, Geeta Chandran's 'Gandhi: Warp and Weft' is a milestone performance which explores key concepts from Gandhian philosophy through the narrative lens of a female dancer in the 21st century. The choreography plays with ideology through abstract movement as well as narrative gestures and incorporates both classical Bharatanatyam as well as contemporary movement theatre in its physical vocabulary.

The performance comprises of six concepts interpreted through dance that flows contiguously from one to the other. In keeping with Gandhi's personal evolution, the initial sections of the choreography are based on classical Bharatanatyam abhinaya techniques; and reflecting the newness of Gandhi's evolving philosophy and the stark brilliance of his struggle, the later sections have been visualised embracing a more contemporary choreographic outlook.

The first concept is religious unity and is connected to the deep reliance on spiritual syncretism that Gandhi propagated. The second section celibacy probes Gandhi's lifelong experiment to set aside desires of the flesh while remaining in other ways an active householder and husband. The third theme explored is satyagraha and is inspired by Gandhi's prison writings, his mass civil disobedience movements, and epochal moments like the Dandi march.

From there, the piece explores ahimsa, both in the concept of turning the other cheek as peace offering, as well as the violence inflicted on the self through such radical protests like hunger strikes.

The fifth section looks at caste and shram with an eye both to the reformations of the past that Gandhi sought regarding the dignity of labour, as well as the atrocities of caste oppression that continue to our present day.

The concluding section khadi examines Gandhi's belief for ecological sustainability and balance and uses thread as a metaphor for the bonds that the Gandhian movement sought to create across the nation.

The music base has been imagined by Geeta Chandran, based on which an evocative soundscape was engineered by sound artist Pratik Biswas.

Entry for the event, which is presented by Natya Vriksha, is open and free.

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