Gauri Diwakar premieres Samaratri in Delhi

Gauri Diwakar
Kathak dancer Gauri Diwakar is bringing her new production, Samaratri, to Delhi for the first time. Gauri developed this and premiered it in Chennai last year. She performs it in Delhi for the first time at 7.30 pm on 21 February 2020 at the Stein Auditorium in IHC. The show is being organized by Aditi Mangaldas’ Drishtikon Dance Foundation and is ticketed – find links to book below. 

I was lucky enough to watch Gauri rehearse it before the premiere in her studio, and got her perspective of the choreography and the concept of this production.

For Gauri, Samaratri is the night of the union of the divine and the mortal. Shivaratri has been important to her because that is her birthday. She has tried to take a very different perspective of the union of Shiva and Parvati. Kamadeva had been reduced to ashes by Shiva, so the god of love does not have a place in this union. This union, which marks the beginning of all creation, has a special place in the hearts of all Shiva and Shakti bhaktas. But the portrayal by Gauri is erotic yet divine. It’s sensuous yet sensitive. It is explicit yet subtle, arousing yet calming.

For those of you who haven’t seen the production in Chennai or Ahmedabad and are looking forward to it, I won’t describe it further. But when I watched the rehearsal, it reminded me of an older Gauri production, Mugdha (click here to see my report). Her previous choreographic work on the union of Radha and Krishna was also done with a lot of sensitivity and moves that were very delicate.

Gauri’s productions in the past few years have been backed by strong textual research – the poetry selected is deep in itself and meaningful because of its origins. Her dancing belies the impression of Kathak as a dance of just technical skill and pace. She does thoughtful abstract bhava enriched by expressive, deep text or poetry and an undercurrent of spiritual longing. Please do try and go watch Samaratri!

Tickets: can be bought at the Programmes desk, Habitat World, IHC or on BookMyShow (click here).

To get a sense of Gauri's other productions, read my reports on Dancing Emptiness, Hari Ho... Gati Meri, Mugdha again, 10x10, Sarve Nava - or just search for Gauri on my blog.