Through the lockdown, dancer Methil Devika has been engaged on new themes and contemporary interpretations of previous themes. In a few of these, shared on social media, she has introduced attention-grabbing views into the vocabulary of classical dance.
A latest such share, an excerpt from a chunk titled ‘Kottichetham,’ has created a ripple of curiosity. Carried out by Devika and Dr. Arun Azeez, the video is an excerpt from the Tamil epic Silappathikaram. “Written by Ilango Adigal, Kottichetam is believed to have been danced by the Parayur Chakyan of the Chera court docket for the king and the queen,” explains Devika. “The Chera King had simply emerged victorious from a battle and the picture of the king and the queen collectively impressed him to bop this piece.”
Dance of Siva and Uma
Kottichetham is taken into account the dance of Siva and Uma. Through the dance, Siva’s eyes blaze and his matted locks are tossed round, however Uma is the image of composure. “The strains level to the Ardhanareeswara idea and speak of the swirl of vitality between the masculine and the female inside one self and never two individuals,” she says.
Set to music by the late Kavalam Narayana Panicker and Kavalam Srikumar in Champa tala, a tala native to Kerala’s artwork varieties, Kottichetham was really choreographed by Devika a decade in the past. Then, in January this 12 months, when Devika carried out a dance workshop for worldwide college students, Kottichetham was one of many items she taught.
One of many contributors was Melbourne-based ENT surgeon Dr. Azeez. “Nearly 32 years in the past, Arun had bagged first prize for Mohiniyattom within the Kerala State Youth Competition competitors. Now a busy physician, the workshop caught his consideration and he determined to discover Mohiniyattom once more. “I used to be amazed to seek out him getting rapidly into the groove. He picked up the steps in six days,” says Devika.
Through the workshop, tv director Rajesh Kadamba visited her in Palakkad. Seeing the dance, Rajesh needed to archive it. Regardless of Devika’s preliminary reluctance, Arun too needed it recorded since he wasn’t certain when he would return to India. Now, with journey at a standstill, Devika feels it was a good suggestion it was accomplished. That is the video that has been shared.
Happy with the reception, Devika says the expertise has opened a brand new path for her and he or she plans to discover the dynamics of the shape for male dancers. “I’m engaged on different items that swimsuit the male vitality for the dance kind. I really feel it would push the boundaries of Mohiniyattom,” she says. Though Devika choreographed ‘Kottichetham’ for a solo and has additionally danced it as such at numerous venues, the dynamics of the duet got here as a nice shock. “We improvised so much but it surely got here out properly,” she says.
This explicit a part of the Tamil epic will not be very accustomed to many practitioners of music and dance. “In response to anthropologists, Parayur Kootu Chakyan should be from the present-day Paravur. The Chera king in these elements might have impressed the Chakyan to give you this piece. Kavalam sir had advised me that ‘Kottichetham’ meant a dance accompanied by the clapping of palms. Later, I occurred to learn that it additionally signifies a second when the female and the masculine entities can’t be distinguished regardless of their dualities. That’s the different interpretation of Kottichetham.”
An previous providing
When she narrated the background and carried out it in Chendamangalam, close to Paravur, one of many clergymen advised her of an providing in some Siva temples that concerned clapping and laughter. “Generally known as ‘Kottum Chiriyum,’ it was carried out solely by ladies,” she says, and the priest mentioned her recital reminded him of it.
Kottichetham has been carried out by different dancers as properly, together with the well-known Kanak Rele. “However every individual has approached it from a distinct perspective. On this case, it’s the duet that modified your complete presentation,” says Devika.
Devika, fairly rightly, believes that sure parts of the dance must be improved upon. “For me, Ardhanareeswara will not be half-male and half-female. That’s extra an artist’s impression. Greater than two folks dancing, I felt it factors to the presence of the female and male in each individual.”
Devika sees the dance as an interplay of energies inside oneself. “You need to be in union with your self to be in the identical bandwidth as one other one that can also be in union with himself/ herself. Solely then the Ardhanareeswara idea achieves fullness.”