When Akademi approached me to create an outdoor dance theatre piece – a work inspired both by Dante’s Paradiso and the astrological influences of the Hindu Navagrahas – it seemed a daunting prospect. Was there any way of unifying these eclectic sources?
Dante’s epic poem has complexities that are impossible to encapsulate, but dance and music can offer meanings that transcend the text. Through research and rehearsals, possibilities began to present themselves.
In the first stage of this creative process, we have focused on depicting the arduousness of Dante’s journey as he follows his beloved through the planetary spheres to Paradise. Three important elements stood out – Dante’s journey to find inner peace and perfection, his adoration of Beatrice, and the astrological significance of the planets in peoples’ lives.
Dante and Beatrice express themselves through song, setting them apart from the planets who are represented by six dancers. Coming from diverse cultures, these dancers bring different disciplines of movement to the work.
It has been a real pleasure to create Paradiso together with Hilary and the initial ideas of Mira.
The expectations were very high and I took the challenge. Specially, because I am developing a relationship with Indian classical dance forms and Akademi. However, the biggest challenge has been to bring the theatrical story together with Hilary; without letting go the power of dance. The contribution of the whole creative team has been phenomenal, supportive and always focus in the main idea of Dante and his journey through paradise. I think Paradiso is a delicate spiritual piece that will bring the attention in a subtle way. I can’t wait to go into the second stage of the creative process.