Ula is a Bharatnatyam performance with a fantastic multigenerational cast of female classical Indian dancers, ranging from the ages of seven to forty years old. Choreographer, Anjana Anand explores the seven stages of womanhood with this talented intergenerational cast of dancers. It is exciting to see artists playing their actual age and experiences on stage – making the characteristic expression and theatricality of Bharatnatyam ever more real.
From the programme notes, I learn that ‘Ula is a body of devotional Tamil literature that dates back to the Chola period (9CE to 13 CE)’. On the phone with Jeyanthi Kesavan (rehearsal director) in between rehearsals and dance classes at Bharathaa Arts she shares with me that this vibrant performance uses a lot of ‘facial expressions and it is spiritually inclined, where the dancers want to connect with a higher power.’ My experience of watching Bharatnatyam performances is always unique. On the one hand, I am an atheist, but on the other hand, it touches me profoundly to see dancers sharing their love, kindship, and experience on stage even if with a higher power( whoever that might be). The devotion and the art of giving seem imprinted in the beautiful gestures and all the movement, making the choreography even more specific and ceremonious, connecting audiences to the artists from a passionate viewpoint.
With music by Bhagavatulu Seetarama Sarma, this promises to be a performance full of rhythm and incredible footwork. ‘ULA will transport you back to a time where the temple was the cultural centre of poetry, music, and dance.’