Planes of Devotion - Celebrating 25 years!
Way back in 1986, cornered into teaching a class of 3 students in the garage of our rented home, not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would grow into not one, but two, institutions. The Academy was founded in 1987 and the Company in 1996 as a permanent base for the graduates of the academy, with an aim to become proficient and professional in the classical Indian dance styles.
Today Lingalayam stands proud as a wholly Australian entity, having played a vital role in creating awareness for the Indian classical arts and contributing significantly to the cultural diversity of dance in Australia. This has been achieved while maintaining the cultural integrity and identity of the art form - and this I owe to my Gurus and mentors, who have nurtured my growth in my quest for cultivating this ancient art form.
Two dance icons -
from polar opposite classical dance styles - responsible for influencing and shaping my choreographic vocabulary were John Cranko and my own Kuchipudi Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. They revolutionised choreography as it was viewed, bringing a contemporary edge to a visually exhilarating movement vocabulary. The aesthetics of their productions entertained all one's senses, making it a theatre experience and drawing in the uninitiated. Above all what they passed on to their dancers was their unadulterated love of dance.
In celebrating Lingalayam’s 25th Anniversary I would like to dedicate ‘Planes of Devotion – songs of Annamayya’ to my Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam who passed away on July 29th.
We hope you will join us at the Riverside Theatres on September 7th & 8th as three generations of Lingalayam Dancers bring layers of interpretations to the visually lyrical songs of Annamacharya.
Annamacharya, a poet of the 15th century wrote the most visually compelling lyrics in Telugu and Sanskrit, in praise of the manifestations of Lord Venkatesa and his consort Alamelumanga. His songs are layered with myriad hues, whether it is of love and romance, philosophical devotion or concern for social equality. The words are illuminated with mime and merge with the melodic connotations within, making his songs the perfect vehicle for dance.
In dedicating 25 years in service to classical Indian dance, Lingalayam celebrates with the songs of Annamayya.
Earth & Fire
Earth & Fire delves into the lives of the two great heroines of the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. Sita, the daughter of the earth and a patient woman, tormented by hardship, is transformed into an illusionary Sita or Mayasita. Draupadi, daughter of the fire, is a powerful, passionate woman and wife to five brothers set on a path of destruction.
This production explores the difficulties a woman must face in a world which so often requires her to be Draupadi, yet expects her to be Sita.
Earth & Fire features ten female dancers along with special guest dancer Seran, accompanied by a traditional South Indian orchestra of five musicians.
Kuruntokai - The Interior Landscape
Kuruntokai - The Interior Landscape, draws form an anthology of 400 Tamil love lyrics, written between 100-300AD, that entwine human love with our environments. Their English translation, by the celebrated poet A. K. Ramanujan, has introduced Indian and Western readers alike to an unfamiliar and fascinating literary tradition.
Juxtaposing the structural clarity of Bharatha Natyam with the sensuous fluidity of Kuchipudi (two of the seven classical Indian dance forms), this work invites the audience to explore the extraordinary journey into the ‘interior landscape’ of human love.
A barren woman’s dream of children makes her unwitting prey to manipulation by a serpent god. The serpent fulfills her dream, and caught in a coil of desire and seduction, the woman conceives. Years later, that joy long forgotten, the legacy of her serpent children becomes too much to bear, and leads her once again to the serpent god to seek retribution for his false temptation. Ultimately however, the power to right this betrayal lies elsewhere. Serpent Woman is an extraordinary tale with a happy ending. Dance, drama, music and glorious costuming come together to present an entertaining, dynamic and thoughtful work.