The performance MARGA includes a series of choreographic excerpts inspired by the traditional Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dance repertoires, two of the major classical dance styles from South India. The choreography of this performance is inspired by an analysis of the expressive languages of each style (Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam), and explores the frontiers between dramatic action and ritual.
MARGA follows the traditional format which was first adopted in the 1800s to present ritual temple dances. The diverse technical and expressive elements of the repertoires are presented in an increasingly complex progression, accompanying the audience through the abstract and narrative forms of these dance styles. This progression marks out an evolving rite of consecration whereby the stage becomes a sacred place, reflecting an articulated system of symbolic correspondence: the dancer approaches the divinity by moving gradually from the space external to the temple towards the sanctorum where she engages in direct contemplation with the idol. The visualisation and apparition of the divine is a gradual process that rhythmically progresses with the various stages of a “walk” (marga) shared with the audience; an “artistic-aesthetic” voyage that culminates in the evocation of the rasa (“sentiment”, “taste”, “essence”).
MARGA is an original production by Svamini Atmananda and Marianna Biadene. These two dancers started their collaboration in 2013 and have jointly produced four different performances presented during the Festival Internazionale Natyakala (2013-2014): Teatro Tenda Anselmi (2014), Teatro Centro Asteria (2014), Festival Internazionale Mito Settembre Musica (2015). Svamini Atmananda has performed in India and Italy and today is considered one of the leading figures of Kuchipudi dance to perform in Europe. Marianna Biadene has presented many performances in Italy and Europe and frequently collaborates with internationally renowned artists. Today she is considered one of the leading interpreter of Bharatanatyam dance in Italy.
SVAMINI ATMANANDA grew up and still lives in the Hindu monastery Gitananda Ashram. She started training at an early age with Amma Savitri Nair and Menakshi Devi at the Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, India. She spent long periods studying in India with prestigious teachers of dance and choreography such as Ambika Buch, Dhananjayan and Shanta, C.V. Chandrashekhar, of the important and renowned Kalakshetra Academy in Chennai (Madras) and with Sitarama Sharma she continues to study Carnatic music and Nattuvangam. In 1997, following an intense period of study, she performed in the temple of Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka in Chennai the traditional consecratory dance – the Aranghetram – thus becoming officially a Bharatanatyam dancer. She first approached the Kuchipudi dance style at the Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai, founded by Maestro Sri Vempatti Chinna Satyam, studying with Shantala Shivalingappa and Vyjayanthi Kashi of the Shambavi School of Dance in Bangalore. Atmananda has performed in important theatres and institutions in Italy: Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), Teatro Vittoria (Turin), Teatro dell’Opera del Casinò (Sanremo), Museo d’Arte Orientale (Genoa), Indian Embassy (Rome). Since 2015 she has participated in various events of the inter-religious project “Teofonia: note di fedi per un’unica Armonia”, including performances in prestigious venues such as the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Conservatorio di S. Cecilia, Scuola Politecnica of the University of Palermo, Teatro dell’Opera del Casinò (Sanremo), the Monastery of Fonte Avellana. She currently performs in Italy and abroad, organising also a series of workshops and courses at the “Talavidya International Academy of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam”. She collaborates regularly with Amma Savitry Nair and Shantala Shivalingappa in teaching Kuchipudi dance at the “Rudra” school in Lausanne, founded and directed from many years by Maurice Béjart.
MARIANNA BIADENE trained in classical, contemporary and classical Indian dance. She is member of CID Unesco – International Dance Council, President of the Associazione Gamaka and artistic director of the Festival Natyakala. She started her training at a very young age at the Fondazione Cini with the maestri Savitri Nair and C.V. Chandrasekhar. Studying in India for regular periods, she perfected her studies under the guidance of Ambika Buch and Pushpa Shankar, dance teachers at the prestigious Kalakshetra Academy. In London (2001-2012) she continued her professional training at The Place School of Contemporary Dance (contemporary dance) and at the Bhavan Institute (Bharatanatyam dance), studying under Prakash Yadagudde, Anusha Subramanyam and Stella Uppal-Subbiah. She continued to train between India and Europe, following internationally renowned masters: C.V. Chandrasekhar, N.S. Jayalakshmi, Bragha Bessel, Smt. Leela Samson, Indira Kadambi, Mavin Khoo. From 2004 – 2008 she worked with the Beeja Dance Company (London), presenting performances in the UK and abroad. She also collaborated with the Anglo-Indian dance company Moksha (2008-2011). She has performed both as a soloist and in ensemble with international artistes: Anusha Subramanyam, Pushkala Gopal, Prathap Ramachandra, Pt. Arjun Mishra, Anuj Mishra, Neha Singh, Kantika Mishra, Hiten Mistry, Atmananda, Pramita Mallick, Soumik Datta, Nihar Mehta. In Italy she has performed in leading theatres and has participated in many important artistic and cultural festivals. Since 2012 she has been the artistic director of the Natyakala Festival dedicated to classical Indian dance and music in Venice and with the participation of many international guest artists. She was appointed President of the Associazione Gamaka in 2011 which organised an annual programme of events with leading artists: Smt. Leela Samson, C.V. Chandrasekhar, Pt. Arjun Mishra & Anuj Mishra Dance Company, Smt. Indira Kadambi, Mavin Khoo, Apoorva Jayaraman. Since 2013 she has taught in various schools and academies in North Italy.
photos: Mario D’Angelo