Indian classical dancer Padmashri Geeta Chandran started dancing at the age of five. She has spent the last 55 years teaching and performing the classical dance, which has proved her as ‘dynamic’ and ‘magnificent’. Even after giving many best performances, she is always eager to learn something.
On 21st May, Geeta Chandran conceived a solo presentation, ‘In Search of Infinity at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Estate, New Delhi.
Geeta Chandran has used Hindi poet Jai Shankar Prasad-ji’s Beeti Vibhavari Jaag Ri as a potent metaphor for the dark days of the pandemic that we need to put aside, even as we embrace with abundant caution – a better tomorrow!
When asked how she feels about her performance and what lies behind its title “In search of infinity”, she very beautifully answered, “The 30 months of the pandemic underlined limits of everything; we were all boxed in both physically and metaphorically. In that state of despair, my dance led me to deeper spaces within myself. I reached point Zero within and peeped into the beginning of that infinity. The performance IN SEARCH OF INFINITY is my dance autobiography; it speaks of how I tackled the pandemic as an artist. This is my artistic response to the lockdown.”
Geeta’s concluding dance was a call for social tolerance of differences. In a piece written by Swami Annamacharya, Chief Priest of the Tirupati Balaji temple, the poet calls for samdrishti to human beings who may follow different sets of beliefs. All of humanity is one, says the poet, even as all the Gods are one!
Geeta Chandran says, “The pandemic affected all performing artists deeply. Since our income was solely dependent on performances, the drying up of performance opportunities for nearly two and a half years brought this community to a standstill and pushed them on a precipitous downward spiral.
I was no exception. My dance studio, which was, until then, daily humming with hyper-creative activity and the bustle of students, went eerily silent. After a brief hiatus of about two weeks, I shook off my ennui and started reassessing my blessings. There I was with a slew of incomplete ideas that had to be brought to fruition; and, and I finally had the uninterrupted time to tackle those tasks. And so it was that yoga, dance, and my creative urge peaked during those long, long months that would have seemed interminable, but for my dance!
And what were the lessons I learned? I recognized that my art was replete and capable of feeding my soul and saving me from the downward spirals that so many around me were sliding down into! And I also realized that my internal landscape was robust enough to keep me busy, creatively occupied, feeling fulfilled and happy.
I reached the blissful Point Zero within myself, and I thank the pandemic for that. I truly tasted eternity.
And so here the pieces that I traveled with during the pandemic are being presented for the first time live…the compositions I worked on during those 30 months. With the support of stellar musicians K. Venkateswaran and Manohar Balatchandirane who were my pandemic co-travelers. Some of them were created for online performances, but here they will be viewed in flesh and blood…”