Spectacular story telling 
- Aniruddh Vasudevan, Chennai 
e-mail: aniruddhnatya@yahoo.co.in  
Photos: Lalitha Venkat 

December 5, 2004

Chitraleka Dance Company’s “The Story of C” depicted the journey of the element Carbon in combination with different elements right from limestone to organic matter to polluted air. The very beginning was impressive where the dancers dressed in cream silk costumes reminded one of the beautiful stalagmites.  

The backdrop was a huge reflector, placed at an angle, which picked up the neat and crisp formations and produced a multidimensional effect. It was a double treat to watch the clean and near-perfect lines of the dancers’ bodies on the mirror as well. Especially, the formations suggestive of Aumkara and Swastika as well as Graphite and Diamond where Carbon exists in its elemental state but in fantastic structures, were created with remarkable precision. As the performance went on, a monotony of movements and positions did set in. Also, the multimedia projection, for which the reflector doubled as a screen, was at certain points a distraction more than an aid in enhancing understanding. It was an impediment to the free play of the viewer’s imagination. But, as Chitraleka later explained, the production was conceived keeping also in mind the educational aspect of it. The dance company also has to operate within an academic framework.  

Bharatanatyam and Kathak were the styles predominantly used in this production. All the dancers had remarkable control over their bodylines and nritta, which made it quite a visual treat even minus the slight ostentation of the multimedia support.  

Aniruddh Vasudevan is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai.