Choreographer Nakula Somanna talks about choreographing his piece “Periscope” for Nritarutya’s Youth Wing.
Periscope is currently a work in progress.
I started to work with the youth group from around June 2013, if my memory serves me right. I met the group who had a background in dance, a few well versed in classical and some in popular forms. Some were familiar faces from having done sessions with the company before.
It was good to work with them and see how they would take to contemporary dance and its training methodology and see their potential. Over time they started to work on creating blocks of material. It is one thing to train and another matter to use this to create contextual movement material.
Our context was to use the training, previous and current, to use the dancers personal vocabulary. Nritarutya has had certain choreographers who have developed a certain style of work over the years. I was unsure of being able to repeat that, though the young dancers who had worked with them, maybe able to bring those flavours to the work.
We began with short segments that had a certain focus. The task was to use the geometry of Bharatnatyam to make work. The work of the limbs was to bring the action out of the body through brushing and flicks. Appropriate emotions or intentions were used to bring texture to the work.
Overtime we decided on music, which we would eventually like composed or put together using different soundtracks. Varsha identified projections for the visuals. Ashwin designed the props and costumes.
The props were a series of screens that the dancers went through during the score to emerge conceptually in another place on stage. The stage was divided into the zones where the actions took place. The projections of future cities in black and white with monorails were a great find. Thrown together with organic bodies, structured movements and abstract music, we hoped that the audience made several narratives of te piece.
We need to work more on the piece technically together with the production team and the lights so that the piece takes another jump.