A meeting of dance with theatre, contemporary literature, gender and other socio-political issues and the introduction of the multicultural element. Based on the true story of the sexual revenge that a young woman wreaked on the patriarchal Namboodri Brahmin community in Kerala (South India) in the early 1900s. Premiered in Singapore in 1999 and subsequently performed in Mumbai, Chennai and as a solo act by Nirmala Seshadri in Singapore (Singapore Writers’ Festival) in 2009.
View excerpt at https://youtu.be/mTqezwIhmsI
OUTCASTE ETERNAL – A SOLO ACT
A solo one woman-act- A meeting of dance with video images, theatre, contemporary literature, gender and other socio-political issues. Performed at the Singapore Writers’ Festival (2009).
CROSSROADS – JOURNEYS & TRANSFORMATIONS THROUGH LIFE & DANCE
An experiment in which the traditional repertoire was viewed through a different contextual lens; where the parts of the repertoire connected into a larger conceptual framework, allowing for other forms such as film and visual art to enter. Also an exploration of the gender equation. Premiered in Chennai in 2003 and subsequently performed in various cities in South India and in Singapore.
View excerpt at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glGmuCrJzHg
THEN & NOW-PERSONAL & ARTISTIC REFLECTIONS (2003): An experiment in two parts to understand how the texture of the dance form changes when the poetry and music of the dance form is altered. The first part deals with the memory of a Bharatanatyam margam performance, while the second segment is contemplative, and is brought out through the English translation of the Mandarin poem, Aspiration, by Singaporean poet Dan Ying. Premiered in Singapore in 2003 and subsequently presented in Chennai and Delhi.
View excerpt at https://youtu.be/g2zo5GVZxQE
ME, YOU, YOU/ME, WE: (2003): In collaboration with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, I worked at finding points of connection between my dance and their music. Through a process of layering, I gradually discovered meeting points with the music through flute, rhythm, poetry and painting. This experiment culminated in my live solo performance with the 70 member Singapore Chinese Orchestra. The work also saw the meeting of my dance with the poetry and painting of Singapore’s most celebrated multidisciplinary artist, Tan Swie Hian.
RADHA NOW (2006): Taking an old myth that is in the individual and collective psyche - revisiting and redefining it. To view it from the perspective of the modern woman and expressing this through dance. It is in this work that I find my approach finding a sort of fruition. The concept has shifted all other elements- music, literature, structure and finally even the form, to suit the mind of the contemporary woman. Premiered in Chennai and subsequently performed in Singapore.
FROM ISHTA DEVATA TO ISHTA DEVATA (2009): Rooted in the classical, the two-part work choreographed by Nirmala and performed by her student Anitha, culminates in the dancer’s entry into that other space which is beyond technique, concept or emotion. In order to begin to become aware of the female identity, the dancer focusses on a female deity, the empowering Mother Goddess. Premiered in Chennai and later presented in Singapore.
THIS & THAT (2009): In this experiment the classical dance form Bharatanatyam meets with free form movement, poetry, music, theatre and video images. An exploration of meeting points and differing points, the work traverses various moods - aloneness, yearning, dejection and pathos shifts to hope and nostalgia, suffused with the excitement of change and newness. The work explores the thin line between time frames, between memory, reality and dream, between the classical dance form and free improvised movement. The work was choreographed by Nirmala for students of the Nanyang Academy of Dance, Singapore. Performed in Singapore and New York.
I WATCHED THE FLOWERS (2012): An experimental Bharatanatyam duet. A meditation on womanhood, maturity and love. An exploration of that thin line between time frames, between memory, reality and dream. Between languages and cultures that meet in our lives, between the classical dance form and performance improvisation. This collaboration between two dancers of different backgrounds and life journeys examines the concept of Pushpanjali, an offering of flowers that traditionally opens a Bharatanatyam performance. Performed in Singapore.
I CARRY YOUR HEART (2015)
An interdisciplinary and cross-cultural performance work which sees the coming together of dance, sculpture, poetry and music. In creating this site-specific piece, experimental dancers Nirmala Seshadri and Neewin Hershall, work through the classical dance form Bharatanatyam and the dance theatre form Butoh as they respond to the stone sculptures at the Sculpture Garden created by Singapore’s celebrated multidisciplinary artist Tan Swie Hian. Tan’s exquisite Sculpture Garden, situated within the National University Heart Centre in Singapore, is based on the poem “I carry your heart” written by the profilic and experimental American poet E.E. Cummings. The dance piece “I carry your heart” is a journey through dance, life and love, one that carries the notions of release and rejuvenation as its leitmotifs.
View excerpt at https://youtu.be/qE7GUdFxrLU
THE VANISHING POINT ? (2015)
A site-inspired piece conceived and conceptualised by experimental dancer, choreographer and Young Artist Award recipient Nirmala Seshadri, in response to the National University Heart Centre’s Sculpture Garden created by Singapore’s celebrated multidisciplinary artist Tan Swie Hian. “The Vanishing Point?” is centred on the poem “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings and the words of dance scholar and critic Marcia Siegel – “Dance exists at a perpetual vanishing point... [it is] an event that disappears in the very act of materialising". Drawing from diverse dance and movement forms including bharatanatyam, butoh, yoga, ballet, hip hop, chinese dance and contemporary dance, this improvisational, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural performance work traverses the spheres of dance, life and love, carrying the notions of separation and transformation as its leitmotifs.
View excerpt at https://vimeo.com/141774147