N e w F l o w ( N a v D h a r a ) o f E n e r g y T h r o u g h A g n i
So the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing. As Everything in this universe has a rhythm, everything dances. The body says what words cannot. For some, dance is their pulse, heartbeat, and breathing. It’s the rhythm of life, the expression in time and movement. It is an art, with the floor as a canvas, the dancer the brush and whatever is created comes straight from the heart. As MJ said, thinking is the biggest mistake a dancer could make. You have to Feel. Let me take you through an experience never seen before, let me make you understand a single thought, a single inspiration visually and spiritually brought to life by the one and only dance Master, Ashley Lobo.
Ashley Lobo is an international dance persona, a teacher, a mentor, an endless source of inspiration to dancers of all ages, all races and all castes. The Indian Australian choreographer has trained in Australia under the late Margaret Chapple at the Bodenweiser Dance centre and also at the much reputed Sydney Dance Company. His achievements are never ending, but everyone living in Delhi has either heard or been part of The Danceworx family, with outlets spread across the city and being taught by some of the most beautiful hearted instructors, no one connected with Ashley can ever forget or replace those moments. Speaking from experience, The Danceworx itself, has brought an abundance of joy and light through the art form preserved and protected fiercely by Ashley.
The fierceness was felt powerfully through the Navdhara India Dance Theatre project Agni, which was showcased over two days in Kamani Auditorium on the 29th and 30th of March, and if I Had witnessed the magic on the first day, I would have definitely gone on the second day as well, as it was that mesmerising and enchanting to say the least. Sinking into the core of this theme, Agni is the Vedic God of Fire representing a symbol of darkness and light, beginnings and endings, destruction and purification, knowledge and sacrifice.
The dance began, with a single dancer bathed in a dim spotlight placed on the corner of the stage, moving to just the sound of crackling fire.
The moves were not studied, they were raw, like she was reaching out to the Fire God channeling the fiery essence, imitating the flames as the dancer and dance unite to become one. The duration of the performance was 60 minutes, devoid of a single main protagonist, though every dance on stage had their own unique aura through which their moves were generated. Personally, being a part of The Danceworx for several years, never did I witness a dance technique, so free in its form, and so impactful in its expression. I saw each dancer, not just get up painlessly like a leaf blowing on the wind, but I saw them tear their heart out, rising out for their body, to hang suspended between the worlds.
You know how and why they could do that? Because all the dancers were using Ashley’s dance technique Prana Paint which takes the viewer through an expedition needing to be felt more than seen, needing less analysing and more understanding. Prana is a Sanskrit word for life energy or force, and so Prana Paint & Flow is a unique approach developed by Ashley himself, which sensitises the dancer, making them explore movement through various means of connectivity, like breath, yoga and touch. As the dancer learns to go deeper within, awareness to breath and sensation becomes the centre point of the technique, through which movement or dance appears.
There are various methods used from meditation to experiential exercises which allow the dancer to come in contact with all surfaces, from air, to skin, to the floor, which help make the dancer accept themselves wholly, thereby activating the Prana flow. The body in this state, can create its own art as the individual is encouraged to move in their own personal way. The body resonates energy, the body speaks and the key to Prana Paint & Flow is to listen to the body, rather than control it, to allow the flow of energy rather than to forcibly create it. Prana Paint can also be known as Organic Movement.
All the dancers who performed Agni, created a sort of a hallucination, maybe marking the world, which is a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. The sounds merging with the dance, were very overwhelmingly intense, and for dancers to overpower that kind of sound is in itself commendable. All the elements of fire, were shown with such intricacy that you actually felt you were watching a a slow fire burning. On stage, I saw old and new philosophies of movement combined, as the dancers brought a strong western dane technique along with indigenous tools like ancient Indian dance, which created a blend which is universal.
The attire the dancers was simple, and even though there wasn’t direct communication with the audience, the audience was in a a state of trance for these 60 minutes, sitting in pin drop silence, as they experienced all boundaries disappearing leaving space for the pure madness and passion of dance. The dancers seemed to have emerged from the insides of the earth, blooming into fiery lotus’s with every move. Every aspect, whether it was the lighting, the smoke, the sound and movement were all in such complete synchronisation, that whoever was part of the audience that day, will remember it till the end of time.
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