“Samudra Performing Arts” is an institution of creative dance theatre founded in 1998 by Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev. Drawing on their rigorous training in various classical dance forms, martial art forms and Yoga, they seek to express their creativity through an innovative and improvised language of performances that stretch the boundaries of traditional forms, pursuing an impactful, inventive and pulsating form. Over the years they have earned numerous accolades from audience and experts alike, both at home as well as abroad. Productions like ‘The Sound of Silence’, ‘Jalam’, ‘Rhythm’ and ‘The Cosmic Dance of Siva’, directed and choreographed by them have been staged across the world. They have even left their mark in film choreography, which includes winning the National Award for Best Choreographers in the year 2006 by the Government of India.
Here, both Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev reflect upon their roots and how the rich cultural heritage of Kerala especially in the arena of performing arts, ranging from Kathakali to Kalaripayattu. Right from an impressionable age, these leave an indelible mark on their heart and soul. However, for them, this tradition of discipline nudged them towards unchartered territories of Indian Performing Arts. Breaking away from the strict monolith of traditional and classical forms, they arrived at the improvised and energetic creative dance theatre, enjoying the newfound freedom of expression. However, that doesn’t mean they have severed their connection with their roots. It’s just they interpret and present it in a new language.
As they get into the detail of the creative form, Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev describe the various idioms of expression while even demonstrating them and pointing out their deviations from the classical or traditional forms. They confess that while their work is very well accepted and well appreciated, there is a major resistance from senior performers involved in traditional disciplines. It might be their sense of unfamiliarity or simple physical inability to adapt to it. Their insight into their productions further shed some light on their basic philosophy behind their work and their guiding force behind the various aspects of their overall design. Fondly recalling their first break into films, they consider themselves to be blessed and lucky regarding their wide repertoire of achievements.
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