Navras In Peril is a collaborative project that depicts through the medium of Indian classical dance the reimagining of the navrasa and its interpretation given our current reality of the pandemic, movement control and domestic entrapment. It is a dual channel moving image performance which seeks to explore the triangulated relationship of dancer, audience and site. Conceptualized by artist Dipali Gupta, this collaborative project is an attempt to foster connectivity and engagement despite the limitations of a confined environment.
The representation of this site based dance is durational, relational and contextual. It depicts a dynamic intersection that blurs the boundaries of representation and experience resulting into an evolution of relationships with space, audience and the dancer’s body. ‘Home’ – a domestic space is an unconventional dance site which serves as a landscape of immersive and focused encounters, a terrain for lived experience. While the home is long appreciated as a safe haven, a place of comfort and belonging, today, it almost feels constricting, limiting and hampering of freedom and mobility. Through diverse occurrences, the dancer navigates her physical and emotional feelings that ultimately allow her to co-exist with the reality of the pandemic and its precarious repercussions.
According to Sanskrit aesthetics and as described in the Indian literature of Natyasastra (written by Bharat Muni), sensory communication as an outcome of performing arts is rightfully known as ‘rasa’. The rasas are emotional and mental states expressed through dance that link the artist and the audience. The formal constituents of rasas, namely ‘bhava’ are depicted along with gestures called abhinaya (Chmiel). The Navras is typically used in classical Indian dance forms to convey emotions and sentiment. As per Natyasastra, there are nine states of mind which together form the ‘navras’.