Theatre workshop on source of performance energy
- Ashwini Kaarthikeyan
e-mail: ashwinikaarthikeyan@gmail.com  

February 14, 2014

In November 2013, I enrolled myself quite unexpectedly for my first workshop for actors, at Adishakti Laboratory for the Theatre Arts & Research, in Puducherry. Amongst many luring subjects like the traditional martial arts of Kalaripayattu, voice and breath work inside the salt water swimming pool, exercises for the eyes, traditional drumming lessons on native drums, etc., what really caught my eye was the mention of experiential studies on the Source of Performance Energy, involving a 2000 year old research based on the breath techniques used by performers of Koodiattyam, an ancient classical dance form, from Kerala.

As a Bharatanatyam dancer, I enrolled in this workshop meant for actors, with much trepidation. And now looking back, those ten long and intense days at Adishakti with its extraordinary faculty and research work, leave me transformed, inspired, rejuvenated, 'whole', in every cell of my body, mind and spirit!

After this workshop, I wrote a twenty page paper that covers only one of the highlights in the workshop. It is a compilation of the feverish notes on the technique of entering any of the nine emotional states/navarasas, as stated in the Natya Shastra. I took these down during our interactive and experiential classroom sessions with Vinay Kumar, who is one of the most exceptional, devoted, patient and gifted teachers I've ever met. The in-depth lessons in the eye, voice and rhythm work inside the theatre and the salt water swimming pool with Nimmy Raphel; the invigorating drumming experience with Suresh Kaliyath ; the surge of physical vitality that I felt during the morning lessons with Vinod Sir at the adjoining Hindustan Kalari Sangam; and the calm and vigilant presence of Veenapani Chawla, all made me feel like I had walked into an ancient mythological world.  At the end of the ten days, I felt intoxicated and dazzled by the ambrosia fed to me from the hands of the heavenly damsel, Mohini, after my entire being had churned inside a stormy ocean, the asuras (demons) and the devas (gods), helped spew off the poison from my body, mind and soul!

As all our Indian classical dance forms are so intimately based on theatre, need I say more? 

Mark your calendar:
Upcoming ten day residential workshop, entitled, SOURCE OF PERFORMANCE ENERGY, from March 10th to March 20th 2014, at the Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research, Puducherry, India.

Ashwini Kaarthikeyan is a poet, artist and Bharatanatyam dancer.

 
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