Nur­tur­ing an art-ap­pre­ci­at­ing so­ci­ety

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a San­skrit poet most known for his com­po­si­tion of the poem Gita Govinda, which de­picts a divine love of Kr­ishna; and Jayadeva’s wife, Pad­ma­vathi.

“The whole thing is a love play, the el­e­ment is very sweet,” en­thuses Ramli. “One of its al­lu­sions is like the bee, fer­til­is­ing and pol­li­nat­ing the flow­ers – in this work, ev­ery­thing about Kr­ishna is sweet – the cul­mi­na­tion of the per­for­mance is when Kr­ishna dances with all the gopis, repli­cat­ing him­self.” state, or feel­ing, of the per­former. “But you also need a rasika, an au­di­ence, a re­cep­ta­cle, that is able to re­ceive the rasa,” says Ramli.

Per­haps, points out Ramli, new­com­ers to Odissi who ex­pe­ri­ence this in­tensely emo­tional out­pour­ing from the dancers might be in­spired to go home and read about the myths ref­er­enced by the per­for­mance, and then come back, men­tally en­riched, for the next en­counter.

Al­to­gether, 13 of Su­tra Dance Theatre’s top per­form­ers will be dancing in Kr­ishna, Love Re-In­vented. The show is im­por­tant be­cause it will also serve as the Su­tra Foun­da­tion’s an­nual fund raiser. Ramli started the foun­da­tion in 2007 with the goal of cre­at­ing more aware­ness of tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary per­form­ing and vis­ual arts in Malaysia. He up­holds the phi­los­o­phy of nur­tur­ing a so­ci­ety that ap­pre­ci­ates art, while em­brac­ing the na­tion’s cul­tural di­ver­sity.

And, yes, fund­ing for the arts, is as al­ways a chal­lenge, he says.

Once the KL per­for­mance is done, they will com­mence with an eightc­ity tour around Malaysia, cov­er­ing Pe­nang (March 15), Perak (March 16), Sabah (March 21), Sarawak (March 23), Ke­lan­tan (March 18), Tereng­ganu (March 19), Malacca (March 26), and Negri Sem­bi­lan (date to be con­firmed).

In­trigu­ingly, state per­for­mances are al­ways the most pop­u­lar, Ramli re­veals: “I have a very strong mul­tira­cial au­di­ence. They read about it, and I think they are cu­ri­ous, be­cause we al­ways seem to end up per­form­ing to a full house.”

The gala fund-rais­ing night of Kr­ishna, Love Re-In­vented will take place at 8.30pm on March 5 at Pen­tas 1, Kuala Lumpur Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre (KL­Pac); nightly per­for­mances will con­tinue there­after un­til March 9.

Tick­ets (for non-gala night per­for­mances) are priced at RM53 (and RM33 for stu­dents, the dis­abled and The Ac­tors Stu­dio card mem­bers), and can be booked through the KL­Pac box of­fice at 03-4047 9000, Pe­nang Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre@Straits Quay box of­fice at 04-899 1722 / 2722, or on­line, at tick­et­pro.com.my.

Si­vara­jah natara­jan, ramli’s long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor and set and light­ing de­signer for Kr­ishna,Lo­vere-In­vented, helps to cre­ate the pas­toral feel that ramli wants to con­vey on stage.

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