Interview: Rukmini Chatterjee/ Connections / Sushma Sabnis
World renowned Bharatnatyam dancer / choreographer, Rukmini Chatterjee is all set to present the second edition of ‘Connections’, an international performing arts festival. The festival aims to create dialogues between cultures surpassing history and geography. Sushma Sabnis interviews Rukmini Chatterjee.
Sushma Sabnis: Please tell us about the performing arts festival ‘Connections’ and the role you play in it?
Rukmini Chatterjee: Connections is an annual international performing arts festival, connecting peoples, cultures and epochs through innovative collaborations
It aims to build bridges between India and different cultures, artists and worlds. The emphasis will be on a ‘new kind of creativity’, through innovative and fruitful exchanges around a common language, that of the Arts. Also presenting this to different audiences and connecting with them will be an important aspect of this festival. I do believe that in the fragmented world of today it is important to constantly express the underlying unity of all existence so as to avoid narrow, egoistical visions from destroying the rich fabric of our lives. Also approaching and understanding differences is essential to establishing a dynamic harmony, an essential element for our world of today.
My role i guess is that of orchestrating the festival.
SS: Kindly elaborate about this year’s Connections festival? What can the viewers look forward to?
RC: The light motif of Connections is about bringing cultures together on the same stage.
For this 2nd edition we will have artists from three continents:
South America, Europe and India, coming together to explore the world of desire and passion through two performances.
Heaven and Earth and A Voyage Between Europe and Argentina through Dance and Music.
The art forms that will be presented for this 2nd edition are: Tango, European Classical Music and Dance, Bharatnatyam and Electronic Music.
Dancers from the Opera of Paris will come together with Tango and Bharatnatyam dancers to explore the world of Meetings around a common theme. Electronic music will lend a contemporary flavour to these Meetings.
SS: Does fusion of different genres of dance enhance or give rise to a different genre in itself?
RC: I do Not believe in fusion, but I believe in Meetings.
I believe that one needs to be very well anchored in one’s own identity to be able to really open up to other influences.
Each art form, culture, world, philosophy, retains its original form and thought process in my choreography’s. It’s in the meeting with the other art form or culture that the opening or the transformation takes place.
SS: What are you trying to communicate to the audience through your performances?
RC: In each of my creations I bring together very different art forms, artists, different cultures, philosophies, from all over the world, so as to establish dialogue and build bridges between these varied universes. A quest to understand life and human nature is the base for these meetings. This path is rooted in my life story.
I have always been a foreigner wherever I have lived. Being of Bengali origin, born in Delhi, brought up in Ahmedabad and now living for the last 24 years in Paris, I have always had to build bridges between my vision and that of the culture/country I have lived in. This so as to understand and open up to other influences and thus enrich life. This experience of life has got translated into my work as a choreographer and dancer.
So i think it is a quest for dialogue which transforms into dynamic harmony that i seek to express through my work.
The moment of sharing these choreographic dialogues with audiences in different parts of the world, who receive and feel these meetings in a direct and simple manner is the moment of truth for me. Thus, the choreographic creation becomes the form, for sharing these moments of truth.
SS: Heaven and Earth is conceptualized by you, please tell us more?
RC: ‘Heaven and Earth’ brings together the profane and the sacred through the world of Tango, Classical ballet and Bharatnatyam.
Exploring the notion of desire and passion through the universal path of Tantra will be an essential aspect of this performance
It mixes elements from completely different cultures, times, mental and spiritual landscapes to create a powerful dimension mirroring our times.
Dancers from the Opera of Paris will come together with Bharatnatyam and Tango dancers to celebrate the universality of emotions
This pluralism is reflected in the choice of musicians as well: An Indian percussionist, French cello and violin players, an accordion player and an acoustician who will bring forth an electronic and contemporary sound to the whole piece.
The vibratory modes of electronic music, together with the rhythms of Bharatnatyam and the sensuality of Tango will create a certain dimension which will go beyond each of these traditions and styles to seek that breath, common to all existence.
Each art form and style will be profoundly rooted in its own tradition, it’s in the meeting of these art forms that the subtle transformations will take place.
Connections – Performance Art Festival flags off on 8th January and is on view till 10th January at the Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi.Tickets are available at bookmyshow.com