Grammy winning monks share stage with Kahtak dancers

Press Trust of India | New Delhi October 1, 2014 Last Updated at 13:42 IST

Grammy award winning Buddhist monks teamed up with Kathak danseuse Shovana Narayan for a dance and music production here that essayed the time immemorial quest and fears of individuals and included the experiences of Emperor Ashoka.

Standing amidst a sea of corpses, a river flowing red with the blood of the vanquished, Ashoka slowly removes the veils of arrogance and ‘Abhimaan’ clouding his intellect. Eyes filled with tears and hands folded in obeisance, he descends from the stage, marking his symbolic departure from the ivory tower of his ego, a man bloodied in battle, humbled in life.

This powerful scene marked the end of the beginning aft of the four-act production titled ‘Shuunyata’, late last evening.

The dance and music production sought to address questions of conflict of ego which eventually overtakes the harmony within individuals and of acceptance.

A synthesis of elements of Kathak with traditional Buddhist Vajrayana chants and dance form called Vajra Nrityam, the endeavour was a collaborative venture between Shovana and Buddhist monks of the Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat who had winning a Grammy award for their chants in the year 2004.

“There is an inner chant within each of us. And there is an inner movement between each of us. Shunyata, I think, was just an external manifestation of the two genres,” Shovana said.

The dancer said she conceptualised the production during the course of conversations with the monks of the Palpung Sherabling seat. “Somehow these stray discussions led to something meaningful,” the danseue said.

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