Bringing It Out

Brownbody

Photographer: Richard Fleischman
Artistic Work: Bringing It Out
Movement Artist: Ami Parekh

This work fuses bharatanatyam and figure skating. Bharatanatyam is one of eight Indian classical dances, originating sometime in second century B.C. in the state of Tamil Nadu. This triangular dance form went through several reconstructions due to British colonial rule and Indian nationalism. Today, bharatanatyam is considered neo-classical and is practiced transnationally. Typically, abhinaya (expressive/storytelling portions) and nritta (abstract rhythmic portions) comprise a dance. During any moment of the abhinaya, the dancer depicts the person speaking or feeling, the person receiving, or the person imagined. The dancer relies heavily on hand gestures and facial expressions to emotionally portray a story from Indian mythology, the epics, or the Puranas, and relies on head and feet to give the dance the beat. With the concerted efforts of the dancer, Carnatic classical musicians and singers, and nattuvanar (the person who uses sticks to give the beat), a bharatanatyam performance comes to life. What I really admire about bharatanatyam is how it can, like skating, fuse footwork, leaps, poses, quickness, grace, flexibility, and the fine movements of the face, head, and fingers with story-telling and spirituality.

Brownbody

Photographer: Richard Fleischman
Artistic Work: Bringing It Out
Movement Artist: Ami Parekh

Ami dances to Devi Neeye Thunai a devotional poem on the South Indian (Hindu) goddess Meenakshi and her wedding to Sundareswara (the young, beautiful form of the god Shiva). After their marriage, which is still celebrated to this day, she became known as Meenakshi, the fish-eyed goddess, mother of Tamil language and culture, presiding/chief deity of the famous ancient temple in Madurai, South India and an epitome of life, power, nature, beauty, and devotion to one's spouse. This song that she dances to is sung in one of the most ancient languages of India: Tamil. The songs' primary bhakti (mood) is devotion.

Choreography: Ami Parekh
Lighting Design: Holly Anderson
Movement Artists: Ami Parekh
Music: Priya Sisters
Voiceover Artist: Ami Parekh
Costume: Asha Mehta