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French connection with Kuchipudi

It was called melange of dance and the tip-toe and pirouette of ballet blended easily with the gestures and drama of Kuchipudi. Ranee Kumardiscovers more

PHOTO: K_RAMESH BABU

Fusion feast The beauty of east-west amalgamation

If Indian fine arts like dance imbibe a sense of poise and grace in the practitioners, with the French it is elegance personified in all walks of life. This is a common thread that runs through the two different cultures. No surprise then that the French Embassy and the Department of Culture were able to draw inspiration to float a ‘melange’ of two dance genre — so close yet so distant in techniques, approaches and aesthetics. The similarities are calculated, stepwise moves, flinging of limbs, taut body kinetics that allows limited flexibility. This must be one of the reasons why Kuchipudi was chosen to vibe with the Western Classical. Originating as a purely male dance form, it tasks the limbs with long, spectacular movements akin to trapeze with rigour and adroitness. There is masculine refinement which juxtaposes the highly evolved feminine, classical ballet.

Maia Bouthors’s exquisite solo — both the classical and contemporary were a delight to watch. The finesse with which the ballerina took her audience through a thoroughly Biblical episode of Virgin Mary’s emotional journey on finding Christ crucified, her torment, her enlightenment were picturesquely depicted. To pure mime and song in a foreign idiom, she was able to bring out every expression to its fullest form. Lithe, subtle movements with the spotlight on the dancer conveyed more than articulation (song) can ever do. At no point of time did the theme breathed didacticism culled as it were from the legendary Antonio Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater Dolorosa. Haleem Shaik, who shared the stage along with his co-Kuchipudi danseuse Koka Vijayalakshmi, complemented the ballerina with his scintillating moves, agile footwork and controlled body kinetics. Dexterousness characterised his every move with matching gestures and expression. He was able to impart balance to the otherwise dramatic expressions of the Kuchipudi. His moves fell in line with those of Maia as the threesome attempted to blend their individual styles rather successfully, one should say.


The blend came about beautifully towards the end as a natural corollary to the distinctly different techniques. By allowing each artiste to showcase his or her singular presentation within the classical/contemporary framework in the first half of the performance and then bringing them together allowed the viewers to gain a glimpse of what coincided and what stood apart. It was all about retaining one’s identity and yet get a harmonious blend.

Kudos to Alliance Franchaise for the cross cultural mix which indeed went to being a wholesome treat for Hyderabadis. The thought of extending harmonious ties amid petty communal strife bogging every community across every country, is itself noble, be it cultural or educational. The point has been driven home , its for us to pick up the universality of amity and affection. Staged at Ravindra Bharati, the capacity crowd proved the effort right too!

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