Beyond barriers - Breaking boundaries 
- G  Ulaganathan, Bangalore

September 23, 2005 

Fluid Space is a contemporary dance company in Bangalore floated by Vidya Shimladka and Ranjan Mullaratt. Vidya Shimladka is a young classical dancer who is also a journalist, working with a prominent Kannada daily as a news reporter. Though well trained in Bharatanatyam, she also goes in for various experiments as she is also trained in Kalaripayattu and contemporary dance techniques. Ranjan Mullaratt is a well-known Kalaripayattu guru of Bangalore.

Fluid Space presented 'Beyond Barriers', a contemporary dance and multimedia performance recently in Bangalore. Apart from Vidya and Ranjan, dancers having strong classical dance, martial arts background took part in the dances. The first number 'Shakti' was choreographed by Vidya Shimladka.  Shakti is the mother goddess who is the energy of the Universe, the power of the cosmic world, Shiva sings her praise and she pervades the thoughts of Brahma and Vishnu. She is said to be the creative aspect of Divinity, the power through which creation commences. In the human body, the energy flows through all the limbs as the divine essence (rasa) and sustains them. This divine principle is called the Embodiment of Divine Sweetness (Rasa swaroopini, or Angirasa). These divine principles that permeate and sustain the physical body should also be worshipped as mother goddess.

The next item deals with the vital organs of the human body which help one to communicate - hands, feet and legs. As the global village continues to shrink and cultures collide, it is essential for all of us to become more sensitive, more aware, and more observant to the myriad motions, gestures, and body language that surround us each day. As many of us cross over cultural borders, it would be fitting for us to respect, learn, and understand more about the effective, yet powerful "silent language" of gestures. 

Feet are a part of our body that isn't the same to all of us. Someone feels disgust or repulsion, looking at it or touching them. On the contrary, others find them attractive and make erotic or fetishistic fantasy about this extremity.

Next was a multimedia presentation by Ranjan Mullaratt. It deals with Bindu, which is the central dot or point. 

The creation of the cosmos, according to the creation myth of India, began with the first movement of the bindu, setting into motion vibrations of sound and movement. Purusha (cosmic person) and Prakruthi in nature are the dual opposing forces that meet at the bindu and unleash the process of creation. This energy is manifested in the panchabuthas (five elements).

The next number, Between Mind and Soul, choreographed  by Vidya, explains how the rational and the emotional sides of the human being cannot be separated. They should both be considered as part of the individual mind. 

Mind is frequently synonymous with thought: it is that private conversation with ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads" during every waking moment of our lives. Thus we "make up our minds," "change our minds" or are "of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is, that is a private sphere. No-one else can read our thoughts or "know our mind." The mind is a single entity, perhaps having its base in the brain but distinct from it and having an autonomous existence.

The next number 'Mouna' or silence, deals with the ability everyone has to find within ourselves the capacity to withdraw the mind from sensory experiences. This was choreographed by Krishnamurthy Kavatar.

Vidya says about Fluid Space, "A blend of Indian classical dance and martial arts gives our dance a texture bordering between 'Indian classical' and modern styles enabling us to experiment with all sorts of dance and create a rhythm of our own. We have created a new and fascinating style of contemporary aesthetics using classical and modern dance specifically choreographed to respond to modern rhythms breaking all the boundaries. It's a synthesis that layers the elegance of classical dance with the sharp, fragmentary energies of contemporary dance movement."

A journalist for 22 years, Ulaganathan writes extensively on a variety of subjects which include film, dance, travel, art, culture, sports and Information Technology. At present, he is News Editor in Deccan Herald, one of the leading English dailies published from Bangalore.