Why a dance is worth a thousand words4 min read 16 Nov 2013, 12:11 AM IST
Seeing dance from an audience perspective is one thing. Doing it is another pleasure entirely
One of the most stunning performance pieces that I saw this year was by actor Jyoti Dogra who used her India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) grant to create a piece called Notes on Chai. The piece had no accompaniments, music or props. It was just one woman—Dogra—on stage in a black costume. She began by making these weird sounds and nasal noises and moving in a fluid non-rhythmic fashion. Not another pretentious performer attempting to be an Indian Martha Graham or Twyla Tharp, I thought. After a minute of moving through the stage, Dogra stopped, held a pose, and transformed into a small-town girl from, say Raichur, and spoke in a breathy little girl’s voice. “My father, you know, wanted me to get married, and I said, ki, Papa, not now…." These aren’t her actual dialogues but they fit. Throughout the nearly 2-hour performance, Dogra transformed herself into multiple characters, including an old man. It was a unique and uniquely Indian approach to theatre and it showed a speechless audience the power of a live performance.