Principal dancer, Vishwa Kiran talks about his experience working with choreographer Madhuri Upadhya on the piece “Trishanku” for the company’s production “Prayog 4”
“Want and Need”, “Angry and Reckless”, “Failure and perseverance”. Trishanku has been a very personal and emotional process for me and Madhuri. It has moved beyond a space of a mere dance performance to a space where I am living the dance. Initially when we began discussing the piece and its structure, Madhuri decided to construct the piece in a manner that it leaves the audience in a different state of mind from the one they were in when it began. To achieve that I had to be in a different mental space to generate a desired emotion in a confined space to a very specific speed. So the sessions used to be very quite and extremely productive, where one instructed and the other executed with utmost honesty, while the other observed and interrupted only if required.
There were times when she used ask me to close my eyes and dance something for about fifteen minutes and then stop me and ask what I felt. The answer usually was the same, “I felt like I have opened a door to a world inside me that I have never visited”. That is the kind of depth we tried to achieve at every step of the piece.
Madhuri always tells stories that concern a real life scenario. So she wanted Trishanku’s story to have some kind of relevance to the current scheme of things, especially concerning the past and present events of my life. When I began understanding the story of Trishanku, I realized how ridiculously close our characters were. This similarity, to some extent, helped me to efficiently create and present what we were intending to communicate through the piece.
Madhuri is spectacularly creative and intelligent in finding new ways to communicate her thoughts through any medium. And in Trishanku she has tried to ask the right questions and has told more by saying less.
The small bit that was choreographed by Sri Kiran Subramanyam was a real delight. It was such a great experience to learn so much in such less time. Kiran sir has the innate ability to make even a stone express itself which is efficiently shown through what I have hopefully achieved in his small section of the choreography.
The aerial bit though small was probably the most physically enduring bit in the piece.The choreography has a boundary in terms of physical space that I can use and the fact that I had to create the kind of elaboration and dynamism in the movements within that space was both – challenging and liberating.
Trishanku has changed the way I look at things, since it has made me question so many things and it has brought clarity to so many blurry images. It is a never ending experience, it is a process that I am living and enduring. Hope I do some justice to the choreographer’s vision and leave an impact without saying much.