Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
Traditions can be prohibiting. Not for Aditi Mangaldas. Her choreography uses traditions to create a unique style that combines ancient techniques with modern sensibility. In town this Sunday for a one-night-only performance, the Indian dancer will premiere her new work Timeless with her troupe the Drishtikon Dance Foundation at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Mangaldas (left) says she views her work as combining the spirit and dynamism of the Indian dance kathak with yoga: 'I've looked at this ancient dance form with a modern mind and tried to give it contemporary dimensions.'
The form of kathak is familiar to her, she says. By using its strength she's able to create new spaces and develop a new vocabulary.
'I don't like the word fusion or what it embodies,' says Mangaldas. 'I prefer to sow the seed of kathak and then water it with various influences so what emerges is more from within rather than a combination of this and that.'
She draws her inspirations from 'everything and anything'. It can be a child's laughter or a falling leaf, a beautiful poem or a dew drop.
'I have a wanderlust,' she says. 'Just like people who roam the world, explore its remotest corners and try to fathom what lies beyond the Earth, I like to travel through my body and my mind, to explore new places, new routes and avenues within me.'
Not that Mangaldas shuns the outside world. The artist and her troupe recently performed at the Festival Mundial in Holland, the Fall for Dance Festival in the US, the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Britain.
She says all the dancers in her company are trained in the classical dance style of kathak, which serves as a platform for them to explore and evolve.
'Coming from a country which has a long and glorious history of dance, it's important to question age-old myths as well as contemporary [trends],' Mangaldas says. 'I often like to see a particular thing from different perspectives - to let the audience interpret for themselves what they have experienced, rather than guide them on a path that is one dimensional.'
So, what should the Hong Kong audience expect to see at her Sunday performance? Mangaldas says Timeless doesn't answer any questions. It's more a series of questions and an attempt 'to see, to feel, to experience, to hear and to touch the intangible'.
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