A musical with songs in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Sanskrit, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati and Bengali, Chakra—A Myriad Of The Four Seasons explores a couple’s journey through life. The ups and downs they experience in their first year of marriage are mapped against the backdrop of the four seasons.

Danseuse Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala says the idea for the production is based on events in her own life.

“From a near-death experience to almost losing my family home to a loan shark, life has shown me several hardships, and has also given me moments that I can cherish," says Ghantasala in an email interview.

Ghantasala is creative director of the Kala Pradarshini, Centre for Performing Arts and Cultural Activities, which functions as a school for Bharatanatyam, a dance company, and an organization that conducts music and dance festivals.

Though dance dramas are becoming increasingly popular, Ghantasala says this wasn’t always the case. She recalls that the group was criticized by the leading sabhas—the keepers of musical and dance traditions in Chennai—for presenting a dance drama/ballet 20 years ago. The objections ranged from changing the format from solo to group presentations, and using recorded instead of live music. “When we moved towards recorded music in 1991, with Padma Bhushan awardee K.J. Yesudas performing exclusively for our production, we were labelled ‘record dance’," recalls Ghantasala.

But dance presentations need to evolve, and proponents of dance need to work towards packaging their performance so that it retains the interest of youth, says Ghantasala. “Dance is no longer an art form, it’s a live medium of communication. If we continue to treat it as an art form, the audience will dwindle due to changing interests," she says.

Indeed, Chakra is Kala Pradarshini’s first experiment with a modern storyline—its previous productions have been based primarily on mythologies. L. Narendra Kumar, who heads the Anusham Dance Group, which is known for introducing martial art and modern dance elements in Bharatanatyam, is its choreographer.

Another standout feature of the presentation is the musical talent it brings together, with ace musicians Rajkumar Bharathi, the great-grandson of the Renaissance poet Subramanya Bharathi, veena maestro Rajhesh Vaidhya, flautist B.V. Balasai, and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan brought in to compose the music. The lyrics are by Pappu Venugopala Rao, and sound engineer Sai Shravanam, who worked on Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, has put it all together.

Chakra—A Myriad Of The Four Seasons will be staged on 7 September, 6pm, at The Music Academy, Old No. 306, New No. 168, TTK Road, Royapettah, Chennai. Tickets, 300, 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000, available onwww.eventjini.com and in.bookmyshow.com.

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