It is not about the aesthetics of an art form; it is about the feel-good factor. Emotion, movement, rhythm. Imagine them coming together in motion. Dr Gayathri Ganapathy and Sujata Iyer are on a mission to engage you with this beautiful intensity. They have been adapting their classical roots to an interactive setting to foster the wellbeing benefits of movement and music. In a soul-stirring interview with Soulveda, the duo talks about the holistic and spiritual inspiration behind the concept. Excerpts:
Soulveda: Could you tell us about your collaboration? How did it come to be?
Sujata: We met at an art gallery in Bangalore in 2012 and discussed our professions. When Gayathri told me about her interdisciplinary approach to dance and wellbeing, I was immediately hooked. It took us three years to get the concept going, with our life events taking up our time and Gayathri working in Manchester. But when she visited India in December 2016, she had planned to stay for two months. That’s when we put the plan into action and presented BÄndhavam, our work-in-progress.
Gayathri: Sujata and I were very much in sync, right from the moment we met. That had a huge role in making this work. Together, we wanted to educate the audience to look beyond the aesthetics of our art forms and perceive it as an interactive experience for general wellbeing. So, BÄndhavam is our collaborative effort to explore the synergy between music and movement, creating a holistic experience.
Soulveda: Interactive experience is quite prevalent in modern day play-theatre. But an interactive dance-theatre is intriguing. Could you tell us more about it?
Sujata: When we performed BÄndhavam in January 2016, we weren’t entirely sure of the performance format. We refrained from calling it a workshop because we didn’t want non-dancers to be discouraged from attending our programme. Instead, we presented our work as a performance and threw the floor open for discussion afterwards.
Gayathri: There was also a part in the presentation where I pulled out a member from the audience to join me in dancing. She’s my friend and a dancer, but she wasn’t expecting it. She played along well though.