We arrived in the middle of the night, and woke up in an enchanted garden. A beautiful old lady dressed in a yellow sari welcomed us, "Call me Miss June, or Auntie June, or Nanny June, as you like. I can see, you are still shy, - you will soon un-shy here."
The campus of Nrityagram is a dance school for a classic indian dance called Odissi. Students and teachers live together and practice every day. During lunch Miss June says to Surupa Sen, one of the teachers, "They are curious to see you dance!" Surupa shakes her head,"I am afraid that won't happen." Her foot is injured, an inflammation on the heel had to be cut deep from the flesh. To complete Surupas misfortune, she will not be able to dance on a tour to Hongkong and Malaysia, which starts next week. Pavithra Reddy has to take over her part.
|It's forbidden, to take photographs, but not to draw the rehearsals|
The next morning we watch the students practice, their feet are drumming with stumping heels. I found the dance lovely, but a little cramped, - until I saw Bijayini Satpathy. From her first move, I sat there with an open mouth. Her concentration and intensity was total every second. And she and Pavithra were just rehearsing, repeating scenes, stop and go ... this is what I admire the most in the performing arts: the ability to replay a scene over and over again with the same lively expression.
"I don't see it." Surupa gives Pavithra a hard time, "You have to feel it!" "You have to know, why you are doing, what you are doing!" You tube videos proof, Pavithra is a great dancer.
Sundays we were lucky to see Bijayini in a solo: She didn't just dance, she was performing a whole mythology playing all rolls by herself. She was a god and a goddess, the rider and the horse, a beggar, a giant bird, an unstoppable force and a shy creature. I instantly fell in love!
We were not here to dance. The Goethe Institut Max Mueller Bhavan invited 8 drawing artists of the german SPRING Magazin to meet 8 indian colleagues in Nrityagram for to create the 2016 issue of SPRING together. And of course have to thank Larissa Bertonasco for her great initiative to realize this project.
|Archana Sreenivasan, Kruttitka Susarla, Anpu Varkey, Reshu Singh, Katrin Stangl, Nina Pagalies|