Interweaving Bharatanatyam with black heavy metal music, Questionings is one laced with speeches by Hitler, mixed with readings from the Upanishads and amplified by overhead projections. Rukmini Chatterjee’s latest dance creation is one, which will make you reel in wonder. Known for juxtaposing Bharatanatyam with ballet and other dance forms, we learn from Rukmini about her work and her inspirations behind it.
What is Questionings essentially about, and what do you wish to communicate through this organized chaos? Questionings is a quest to invoke and explore the different energies that surround us today, to try and understand the complexities and paradoxes of ‘Man’s’ existence in our times. The past and the present meet to light the path. The transformative tantric energies together with the lyrics and intensity of Norwegian metal music, the symbols and rhythms of Indian classical dance, and the techniques of new technology, bring another dimension: the universal dimension of the man of today. I have chosen to explore worlds as opposed as these to deconstruct the obvious differences of styles and epochs, with a more fundamental energy and a more universal thought process.
Why did you choose to collaborate with a Norwegian black metal band for your performance? What’s the significance of their music in your piece? The reason why I have wanted to work with black metal music, which is a very contemporary art form, is because it describes our world and man’s place in
it with true understanding. It brings forth the energies of our times in a way that our deaf urban societies are obliged to take notice and thus become aware of what is essential for man. Since black metal invokes and questions the essence of our beings, it takes on a spiritual dimension for me.
Questionings is a platform for bringing together two opposing genres and sensibilities. How challenging was the process? I did not really find the collaboration challenging because the concept, the forms, the essence, was really clear in my head right from the beginning. Also and most importantly, the artists I chose to collaborate with, the metal band VREID from Norway have quite a similar vision to mine and are great artists and musicians, wanting to explore different worlds in a true and deep manner._
By: Radhika Iyengar