The greatness of a story lies in how many times it can be retold. How many versions of the story can be made without ruining its essence. Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, Lion King, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Each of these stories have been the subject of books, plays, movies, animated movies and musicals. It takes a lot of courage to retell a story that everyone is already familiar with. We feature 2 such artists who have shown immense courage and changed the face of stage performance in india all together. Nirupama and Rajendra have astonished audiences with their larger than life imagination of ancient tales.
Classically trained in Bharatnatyam and Kathak, this dancing duo are magic on stage. Nirupama and Rajendra, have created a wave of excitement in the Indian dance scene. Rooted in the tradition, they have evolved their own distinct style of presentation by fusing ethnic and modern genres of music & dance. Their work integrates traditional Indian classical dance/music with a wide range of classical & global music like Jazz, Spanish, Afro and World Music.
Born in 1994, ‘Abhinavas’ came into being with a passionate vision to make traditional Indian dance more accessible to audiences in India and across the world. Over many inspired years, ‘Abhinava’ evolved under the creative leadership of the renowned dancing couple, Nirupama and Rajendra and metamorphosed into Abhinava Dance Company.
What’s cool about them
Today, when people are exposed to multi-dimensional art, Abhinava dance Company presents classical dance in a refreshing way, without compromising on the spirit of the art. Be it the Ramayana or a scene from the Rasaleela, Abhinava’s essence is Indian while the treatment is modern. Art is constantly evolving and embracing new techniques of stage presentation is important. The challenge lies in retaining the rawness of a story while displaying higher levels of professionalism.
Kathak began as a way of story telling in the temples; it then moved to the courts of both Mughal and Hindu kings; today it has undergone a further transition in the context of theatre presentation. Nirupama and Rajendra’s story is a lot like that of Kathak. They started off as dancers with renowned gurus. Early on in their careers they felt the pulse of changing performing arts. Experimentation was as much a part of their journey as was training and practise. Today they are flag bearers of the new and modern theater style kathak that Abhinava brings to us.
Message from Nirupama and Rajendra
“Art forms will need to develop in the hands of a good choreographer. We were fortunate enough to work with some wonderful choreographers like Kumi behn and Maya Rao. Maya Rao has done great things with the traditional set up – the way Kumi behn has done with the modern presentation. Both are guru behns who trained under Shambu Maharaj ji– the doyen of abhinaya in the kathak world, and we draw our knowledge systems and inspiration from them. At the same time, we wish to communicate with the younger generation and internationally. This is what Rajendra and I have been working on. For us dance is not just a performing art, but a celebration of life. It is a beautiful world where we become larger than ourselves…we connect with a special spirit.”
TEDx BMS by Nirupama and Rajendra
Abhinava Dance Company
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Abhinava Dance Company
Nirupama + Rajendra