The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vision in rhythm, in tandem

She has criss-crossed the country with a mission — to build a team for Project India. Karine Saporta, one of Europe’s leading choreographers, is working on a dream production that will see her working with various Indian dance forms. “I am fascinated by the mathematical structure of Indian rhythms, as well as the stunning visual impact of the forms,” says the diva of New Dance.

The show, scheduled for a May 2004 premiere in France, will be divided into two parts. The first will be a group effort with around 20 artistes, for which Indian dancers will match steps with “two or three” French performers. “I will use my knowledge of Indian rhythmic composition and translate it into our terms of movement,” explains Saporta.

The second part will be her exchange with Indian artistes and forms — Odissi with Madhavi Mudgal, kathak with Ishira and Maulik Shah, students of Kumudini Lakhia, have been finalised. She is also keen to include Bharatanatyam with “a big name” in Chennai. The collaboration will include Indian musicians, with Subha Mudgal’s name topping her list.

The search is not over yet. Saporta is meeting dancers on her second trip to India as well. She “loved” Sauvik Chakrabarty, whom she met on Saturday and was scheduled to have a session with Ranjita Karlekar, teacher of modern dance at Calcutta School of Music. “I want to start rehearsals by December,” she states.

According to the founder of the National Choreographic Centre, Caen, and Legion of Honour recipient, Europe does not have many classical styles of dancing. “Our oldest forms, like the ballet, were created in end-19th Century. There are Greek sculptures and paintings, but no written records of dance forms. In India, all the forms are alive. Another point of attraction is the way Indian dance combines sensuousness and spiritual content, unlike European counterparts,” says the danseuse who has Bharatanatyam and Flamenco in her repertoire, but wants to learn kathak, which “gave birth to the Spanish form”.

The immediate reason for Saporta’s maiden Calcutta trip is her production, Charmes, with which she is touring the country, courtesy the French embassy and Alliance Francaise. It will be an impressionistic take on heroines of Greek tragedies, diving and swimming against a blue Mediterranean seascape, captured through slides and video camera, as well as the flowing garments of the ‘mermaids’ on stage, points out the choreographer, who has studied photography and videography. “For me, art is audio-visual. If I had to portray India, I would use vibrant hues — orange and reds. The colour for Greece is blue,” she smiles.

Calcutta, “with its unrestored architecture”, reminds Saporta of Palermo, in Italy. “There are so many European cities where ancient structures have become modern and ugly after restoration. Thankfully, this city still retains so much of the past,” the auburn-haired lady says.

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