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Deshi Maarga Adavu:
Research and Innovation by Nirupama Rajendra
Virtual Launch on April 18, 2021 at 8PM

April 7, 2021

Indian classical dance has richly grown with time because of constant innovation and unique artistry generously introduced by exceptional artistes who have had a vision ahead of their times and also had the courage to go out of their comfort zones. This tradition of 'passing on' has the power to leave a lasting impact for generations when artistes decode their discoveries and offer them to the world. Such a paradigm shift in classical dance occurred when the legendary dancer, scholar Guru Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam revived and reconstructed the Karanas from Natyasastra. And today, taking the roots of inspiration from Dr Padma's impeccable thesis, we have yet another creative offering to the perennial river of classical dance by the popular Bharatanrityam and Kathak exponent Nirupama Rajendra. Nirupama through her new research work is introducing to the world of dance a new movement vocabulary called the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU. She has artistically designed 108 movements that have both aesthetic and functional value. Equipped with forty years of professional dance experience and the year of pandemic serving to Nirupama's advantage, she created this new chapter in the classical saga!

Nirupama's attempt through DESHI MAARGA ADAVU is to build a bridge between the Deshi Adavu of Bharatanatyam and the Marga Karana from the Natyashastra. So what are these movements? On the foundation of the Deshi Adavus, elements of the Maarga like the Nritta Hasta, Sthanaka and Bhanga variations have been integrated. Each one of the DESHI MAARGA ADAVUS is developed to bring a fresh approach towards optimal usage and management of energy, space and time. The lower body performs the set Adavu in its required neatness and strength while the upper body performs Nritta Hastas infusing grace, elegance and beauty in the movements. The multifold approach brings about complete coordination between various Angas, Upangas and Pratyangas, Sthanakas and Bhanga variations and further instils a new awareness on Angashuddi (body correctness), balance and aesthetics.

It is quite natural to wonder about the applicability of new vocabulary in present times. DESHI MAARGA ADAVUS find their application in pure Nritta, Abhinaya and Story-telling and further open doors to multiple interpretations. Sometimes along with the excitement of a new work there is also a certain reservation regarding its ability to empower practitioners and to sustain the interest of the audience. In this regard as well, for a dancer, DESHI MAARGA ADAVU is immersive and enjoyable and fosters the importance of beauty in restraint. These adavus are comfortable for the mind to grasp and register because they are born from the understanding of the natural flow of the human body. On the other hand, for the external eyes (audience), these movements appear natural, beautiful, pleasing, expressive, engaging and appealing. Nirupama's intention of creating the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU is purely a quest to see how Indian classical dance, which is already beautiful and expressive, can become even more enjoyable for the dancer and elevate the experience of the Rasika.

The 108 names of the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU have been coined in Sanskrit by Shatavadhani Dr R Ganesh based on its aesthetic and functional application. Dr Ganesh has also guided Nirupama in the process of developing the movements. Praveen D Rao has directed the music of the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU. Tuning of specific categories of the Adavus has been done by Varijashree, Ranjani Vasuki and Raghuram.

Nirupama Rajendra's priceless contribution is for future generations of dancers, choreographers and teachers aspiring to create art that is rich in values. Nirupama has gone one step ahead to help preserve these movements for posterity. Along with her strong pillar of support T D Rajendra (husband and renowned classical dance exponent), Nirupama has documented the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU in great detail. One is a video documentation achieved under the creative direction of Vinod Gowda and a book describing the methodology of the movements! This research designed for practical application will be made available through certification courses both online and offline for dancers across the globe to access these resources and to effectively learn the movement vocabulary.

Nirupama Rajendra humbly dedicates the DESHI MAARGA ADAVU project to her Guru Sundari Santhanam who taught the Maarga Karanas and opened a whole new world of Natyashastra movements, an art that has become an integral part of all the productions of Nirupama and Rajendra's Abhinava Dance Company.

Deshi Maarga Adavu will be PREMIERED worldwide on 18th April 2021 at 8 PM on The documentation of the new movement vocabulary will be launched ONLINE by Guru Dr Padma Subrahmanyam.

Here is the link to the PREMIERE of Nirupama Rajendra's Deshi Maarga Adavu research project

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