Arts Collaboration

Grant Period: Over one year

Denchanala Srinivas, with a focus on the narrative dimensions of performance, proposes to collaborate with Ms. Aruna Bhikshu, a Kuchipudi dance exponent, and Gaddam Parandhamulu, who leads the Sri Laxmi Narasimhaswamy Chindu Bhagotha Brundam folk theatre group, to facilitate each to reflect on and strengthen their respective art forms in innovative ways. Aruna Bhikshu, a dancer, choreographer, teacher and scholar, has done some research to trace the roots of Kuchipudi. She believes that performance forms like Andhra Yakshagana and Chindu Bhagotham carry traces of the origins of the now "classicized" Kuchipudi.

Denchanala Srinivas has used theatre as a means to initiate dialogue and discussions among communities, and to help them to articulate their concerns and has introduced them to modern plays and theatre practices. One of his main concerns is to help the Chindu group to appreciate the potential of their own myths and caste stories.

Denchanala worked with Aruna to adapt traditional methods of teaching to address the training needs of his actors. The teaching curriculum thus developed may also be useful to the Chindu group. Aruna is attracted to the improvisational nature of Chindu performance, and the use it makes of narrative singing and the spoken word.

A series of workshops were organized around a wide range of subjects, including kinesthetics, acting techniques, improvisation, theatre games and script development. Sessions will also be devoted to the learning of various aspects of Kuchipudi (e.g., nritta, abhinaya, costume designs and ornamentation), Chindu performance (e.g., make-up, narrative singing, speech and movement) and contemporary theatre (e.g., acting methods, set design, utilization of space and voice modulation).

The collaborators will also work on a production based on a myth with contemporary relevance. The production will be shown to informal gatherings of journalists, critics, musicians and artists, whose feedback is expected to enrich the collaborative process.

Denchanala Srinivas, theatre director, poet and playwright, Hyderabad Janapadam, theatre repertory, Hyderabad
Aruna Bhikshu, classical dancer and scholar, Hyderabad
Gaddam Parandhamulu of Sri Laxmi Narasimhaswamy Chindu Bhagotha Brundam, folk theatre group, Boduppal village, Andhra Pradesh