Images from Seeking Satori
By Arun Pradeep
Seeking Satori was the Company’s second Classical Intensive, this time, created in partnership with our friends at Sāraswatham Foundation & EnArt Consulting. What came from this intensive week was an immensely gratifying six days at INDeco Swamimalai, in the South Indian city of Kumbakonam.
India has always been an incredibly profound inspiration for Akram, taking him back to the spirit and the purest form of Indian classical dance, where the relationship to dance, music, and practice is a very precious experience to live.
The ornate monument within INDeco Swamimalai, originally called The Mint Palace, was miraculously translocated in 2010 from Chennai to INDeco Hotels Swamimalai as a preservation of history. Crafted out of three ancient villages in Thanjavur, and unlike other buildings in the region, every pillar, frame and piece of woodwork was transported for its unique restoration. Surrounded by nature, these settings formed the basis of a very beautiful week ahead.
This week of immersion, curated and facilitated by Akram and Mavin Khoo, brought 24 established Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancers together, to enable a space where the artists could detach from their professional expectations and revert to their calling – their relationship to dance, to their teachers, to their gurus and to their history.
Seeking Satori facilitated an opportunity for dialogue between generations of Indian classical dancers alongside highly-esteemed guest artists, many of whom embody particular values that now guide our approach to practice here at AKC. Observing the programme and contributing to the profound conversations were Bharatanatyam dance artists Malavika Sarukkai and Vidhya Subramanian, Odissi dance artist Bijayini Satpathy, Kathak dance artists Maulik Shah & Ishira Parikh, arts writer Akhila Krishnamurthy, and international producers Vony Sarfati and Anuradha Parikh. We remain deeply humbled by the generosity and openness of these eight observers.
Constantly delving into the unknown, we were also blessed by the presence of Koodiyattam artist Kapila Venu and Carnatic and Hindustani vocalists Bombay Jayashri, Sriram Parasuram & Anuradha Sriram, who each led nightly lecture demonstrations alongside Mavin Khoo. These sessions brought everyone together to expand on themes relating to classical approaches of tradition, classicism and myths, enabling the soloists and performers to build a greater sense of narrative within their form.
Whilst our time in Kumbakonam may be over, the spirit of this week continues. To experience the essence of Seeking Satori, please enjoy our trailer below.