Portraying feminism through dance and Vedic chants

Portraying feminism through dance and Vedic chants

This summer, the UK parliament saw a performance of ‘Sohinimoksha’ at the hallowed halls of ‘The House of Commons’, where feminism was portrayed with dance, music, poetry and Vedic chants. Sohini Roychowdhury performed with Kristina Veselinova from Bulgaria to ‘Adi tala’ as Rishi Dasgupta played a storm on the acoustic guitar to cast a spell of Shaktism with the spirits of Durga and Kali. Chants from the ‘Markandeya Puranas’ reverberated as the dancers performed rigorously to sixth speed in their storytelling of ‘Mahisasura Mardini’, which ended with Gregorian chants and Vedic mantras to say that the world is one and humanity is one.

The befitting tribute to Maya Angelou followed with mellow strokes of Rishi’s guitar as Sohini and Kristina performed body poetry to a mesmerised audience. Storytelling with dance, Sohini and ‘Sohinimoksha’ performed in Spain, Germany, Scotland, Croatia, Russia, New York, Belgium and Colombia to spread the gospel of Shaktism and the teachings of ‘Markandeya Puranas’, which are so globally relevant every day. ‘Sohinimoksha’ believes in the divine feminine, our mother goddesses, the innate power and the deep philosophy that defines India.

‘Saudha Arts’, under TM Kaysher, organised this beautiful and powerful event. MP Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister of Disarmament and Peace, felicitated Sohini at the House of Commons on June 12 and greatly appreciated the performance. Kristina performed a ‘Thilaana’ full of grace and geometric movement. The audience loved it, which is further testimony to art without boundaries and a world connected by the umbilical cord of empathy and humanity. Kristina has performed Bharatnatyam with the ‘Sohinimoksha’ troupe extensively in Spain, the UK, India, the ‘Prabasi Bharatiya Divas’ and to name a few. The trio took their show to the Nehru Centre on June 13 and performed a ‘Shiva Shakti’ dance opera that was met with tumultuous applause, followed by a conference by ‘She Inspires’ on ‘Colour Me Safe’, affiliated with the United Nations. Headed by Gulnaz Brennen, the conference was part of the movement to abolish domestic abuse of women around the world.

Sohini Roychowdhury and her son Rishi Dasgupta authored the book ‘The Dance of Kali’ by ‘Shubhi Publications’, which was launched this month. Rishi, who has recently graduated with an MSC in Economics from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, has also played acoustic guitar at the ‘Cop 26’ and performed with his mother’s dance recital, themed around ‘Shiva Tandav’, ‘Purusha’ and ‘Prakriti’. Kristina Veselinova is also an Ayurvedic consultant who is deeply rooted in India and its heritage. To quote Sohini: “Shaktism and the ‘Markandeya Puranas’ are globally significant and all should be aware of its reality without falling prey to the India exotica syndrome. So, most of my dance operas, books and movement directions centres around Shakti.”

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