UPCOMING: Prachi Saathi animates Warli art through Bharatanatyam and tech

Prachi Save Saathi in When Walls Dance

Bharatanatyam dancer and voice artist Prachi Saathi is presenting her new production, When Walls Dance, in Delhi on 22 November 2023. According to the production note,

‘When Walls Dance is a captivating performance that seamlessly blends Warli art, Bharatanatyam and animation to narrate the enchanting tale of Champa, a young girl from the Warli tribe, and her beloved champa tree.

The story revolves around the friendship and love between Champa, the little tribal girl, and her namesake tree. They grow together and their lives are intertwined in more ways than they realise. The bond that the girl shares with this tree is that of true selfless friendship which, they promise each other, will last forever and ever.

India is very diverse and the classical, folk and digital rarely interface. This project is a framework to co-create together. The challenge with the modern-day artists is that most of their work often revolves around using digital tools that have been machined/designed/created in a way that their operation/usage and consequential output is instinctively disconnected from the natural environment. The hope of a project like When Walls Dance is to try and imbibe the “more than human” approach to living on this planet, which is intrinsic to most tribal and pre-modern ways of life.

This production is an attempt to bring together two age-old art forms – the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam and the tribal art of the indigenous Warli tribe – through scenography, including motion design and projection… It is a jugalbandi of different artistic practices across different storytelling mediums to trigger urgent and important conversations about our relationship with ourselves and our surroundings.

This extraordinary project not only aims to educate people about the environment but also sheds light on the rich cultural heritage of our indigenous tribes and the classical arts. It delves into the concepts of environmental sustainability and ecological sensitivity, employing a unique storytelling medium that sensitizes both young and adult audiences to pressing issues that afflict our planet. Through the harmonious fusion of classical and folk elements, including dance, music, art and animation, a mesmerizing tapestry is woven, captivating viewers with its beauty and depth.’

The production features tribal jewellery and fabric incorporated into the Bharatanatyam aharyam, and Prachi’s choreography includes elements of tribal dance. The presentation has been divided into eight sections – an alarippu, Birth of Champa, Alphabet Song, Marriage Song, Bird Song, Bohada (the tribal mask festival), Rain Song and finally a thillana. Prachi has co-created this production with artist Upasana Nattoji Roy, who has done the animation and scenography.

Date: 22 November, Wednesday
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Concept, Choreography, Presentation: Prachi Saathi
Co-Created by: Prachi Saathi and Upasana Nattoji Roy
Co-Produced by: Prachi Saathi and Switch Studio
Scenography and Animation: Upasana Nattoji Roy
Voiceover: Prachi Saathi
Research and Art advisor: Rajendra Chaudhari
Music composition: Swapnil Chapekar and Satish Krishnamurthy
Music arrangement: Satish Krishnamurthy
Vocals: Swapnil Chapekar, Ketaki Joshi, traditional Warli artists from Jawhar, Maharashtra
Lyrics: Swapnil Chapekar, Rajendra Chaudhari, traditional Warli folk songs
Percussion, Soundscape and Body percussion: Satish Krishnamurthy
Other Percussion: Traditional Warli artists from Jawhar, Maharashtra
Flute: Sandeep Kulkarni
Sound Engineer: Tapan Dewanji at Trio Digital studio
Visualisation, Design and Compositing: Upasana Nattoji Roy
Warli Animation: Upasana Nattoji Roy and Aishwarya Chaudhari
Warli Type: Aditi George
Poster Design: Saurav Roy
Design Manager: Nigel Gomes
Costume Design: Prachi Saathi
Costume Realisation: Ghulambhai Tailor Mumbai
Masks Design: Celebrated Warli artist Shri
Bhagwan Kadu
Light Design: Deepa Dharmadhikari
Script guidance: Shaili Sathyu and Sanjukta Wagh
Publicity Photo shoot: Jimeet Pawaskar
Publicity shoot studio: Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts
Chhau training: Rakesh Sai Babu
Showreel: Aritro Mukherjee
Special thanks to Guru Smt. Rama Vaidyanathan