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French Mohiniyattam dancer Brigitte Chataignier's piece Ganga, which will be presented during the Bonjour India festival, equates the river to a woman.
Ganga is a river of memory and myths, and an embodiment of sacredness. It often symbolises the beginning of life, just like a woman does. To bring out a connect between the river and a woman through gestures, dance movements, music and breath, Mohiniyattam dancer Brigitte Chataignier from France has choreographed a piece titled Ganga, which will be presented by three dancers during the Bonjour India festival next month in Delhi.
Set against a scenography that resembles a ghat along with its steps and a podium, Ganga — a piece that unites poetry, music and dance — delves into the feminine qualities of the river through emotions such as joy, melancholy, meditation and mourning. Renowned santoor player Sandip Chatterjee from Kolkata will add an Indian touch to the performance by creating the sounds of waves and flowing water.
Talking about this hour-long piece, 50-year-old Chataignier, who has been a Mohiniyattam exponent for the last 25 years, says, "Just like the Ganga travels to the East, the performance is inspired by my journey from the West to the East — from France to India." She says that the other source of inspiration, apart from the Ganga, is a documentary by director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, called Ganges-Water.
A 20-minute poem forms an integral part of the performance. The five-part French poem, also called Ganga, was specially written by Chataignier's friend Zéno Bianu for this piece. "I am life that passes, woman that passes, life and death", reads the introduction to the poem. Ganga has already been staged at several stops in France. While composer Alain Kremski has played the piano for the performances in France, Chataignier decided to collaborate with Chatterjee for the Bonjour India tour.
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