New Narratives for Indian Dance: Exploring Ramayana through India and Indonesia”, organised as part of GTM ISLANDWIDE, and found the session very educational and engaging.
I always thought I knew the Ramayana story well, but the use of Indian and Javanese classical dance really brought to life the intricacies of the tale and helped my daughter and I gain new perspectives on the story.
In the demo part of this programme, dancers from Apsaras Arts, along with Mr. Osman Abdul Hamid, Artistic Director of Era Dance Theatre, showcased snippets of the story through dance. It was an intriguing fusion of Indian and Javanese classical dance forms portraying the epic of Ramayana from Hanuman’s eyes. Ravana and his son Indrajit, also made their entries and captivated the audience with their dance moves.
I must say, there wasn’t a dull moment throughout this one-hour session. Regardless of age, members of the audience enjoyed the performance and asked a lot of questions about the history of the story and how it was represented through dance.
After the session, I had the opportunity to catch up with Mr. Aravinth, Artistic Director of Apsaras Arts, who explained that each production takes years of research, thorough rehearsals, planning and coordination between teams from Singapore and overseas. The basic idea behind each production is to start from the familiar, known tale and to explore new horizons through the medium of dance.
I also had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Mohanapriyan, Principal Dancer and Resident Choreographer of Apsaras Arts, and Mr. Hari Padman, his team member from Chennai’s Kalakshetra Foundation. When I asked them what motivates them, Mr. Priyan said that it was the feedback he gets after each performance from the audience that keeps him going. However, the true motivator is his constant search for new horizons he can explore through dance.
My daughter was keenly listening throughout the session and took some quick notes about Ramayana, the different dance forms and other info that was shared during the session. When the demo started, there was curiosity and appreciation in her eyes. As a parent, I felt that this was a good opportunity for her to learn more about this well-known story and watch it come to life through dance.
Overall, it was an afternoon well spent immersing in the magic of dance and its connection to the heritage of Ramayana.
Find out more about Apsaras Arts and similar programmes at www.nac.gov.sg/GotToMoveSG. Apsaras Arts will be holding one more session on Sunday, 22 October, 2pm at Tampines Regional Library and you should not miss it!