Saayujya Challenges the Conventions of Bharatanatyam Dance and Carnatic Music in New Work

Priyadarsini Govind and T.M. Krishna have been transforming the state of their two traditional art forms for more than a decade. For one night only, Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 7p.m. at the Annenberg Center, these two-world-class artists are creating a new performance, Saayujya (The Merging), inspired by Philadelphia's historic themes of liberty and freedom. This singular collaboration is presented by SRUTI The India Music & Dance Society and Annenberg Center Live.

One of the foremost Bharatanatyam dancers of her time, Ms. Govind has seamlessly redefined the boundaries of her dance form with contemporary explorations that adhere to tradition, yet gently engage in new choreography. Mr. Krishna's artistic ingenuity challenges the conventional formats of Carnatic music. Together in Saayujya, these two preeminent artists initiate a ground-breaking new collaboration to connect the true spirit of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam.

Saayujya is inspired by Philadelphia's place in American history including central themes of liberty, courage, free will, compassion, and equality. In the words of T.M. Krishna: "Our process for the new work focuses on analogous forms of artistic exploration and sharing, on looking at form and structure not in a dry or even strictly beautiful sense, but to further critical questions about connecting true spirit of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam to contemporary culture, of going beyond the physical and personal to the non-articulated and collective. I think within this idea is embedded the spirit of improvisation, sharing, responding and respecting."

Bharatanatyam is a well-known and popular classical Indian dance-form. The most important elements of the dance include, nritta, or the purely rhythmic, which is confined to footwork and the shapes & movements of the body and the hands; and in which there is no portrayal of sentiments or stories; and abhinaya, which is conveyed through gestures, movements and facial expressions, the suggestive language of form. Today's presentation of Saayujya represents yet another step in the evolution of Bharatanatyam dance.

Carnatic music is considered one of the oldest systems of music in the world, with well-defined musical definitions (swaras or notes), grammar (prayogas or phrases) and sophisticated melodic structures, known as raagas. There is a structural organization of ragas (melodic scales) into a system of 72 primary or root raagas from which all other ragas are theoretically generated. The highly devotional & spiritual compositions also include social and romantic types within its framework.

More information about the artistic forms and the event can be found at

In this world premiere, Priyadarsini Govind and T.M. Krishna will perform multiple, distinctive vignettes merging the creative impulses and diverse approaches of both dance and melodic, variation music. Together, their new interpretations of traditional repertoires express a landmark collaboration of South Indian choreography and music.

Image Credit: The Saayujya (The Merging) Website.

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