Nurturing an art-appreciating society
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.