We are back! I am so thrilled that Nava Dance Theatre is going to present The Cloud Messenger at CounterPULSE this year through year 2 of the Performing Diaspora residency program. The evening length version of The Cloud Messenger, to be premiered September 11th-14th at CounterPULSE (1310 Mission St) will feature new original musical score, new original choreography, new dancers, and new costumes. The piece will be directed by Sophia and myself, and will be choreographed by Sophia, Arun, and myself. The original score is composed by renowned flautist GS Rajan (www.malabarian.com).
Revisiting the work started with retreat-like work sessions in February of this year. This meant reviewing the four main pieces from last year and revisiting the overarching narrative that strung these pieces together. So of course, we went back to the text (and a few different translations of it!)
Sophia, Arun, and I had a very specific vision in mind for the additional pieces, but the tricky part was that we were scattering the new pieces throughout the old work. Our goal was to increase the depth of the characters through the new choreography. However, this meant that the new music needed to fit in seamlessly within the score Rajan sir had composed last year. Thankfully, he was up for the task.
Much like last year, we spent a couple days discussing the narrative and the theme of each new piece. Then, Sophia, Arun, and I would set some movement which was inspired by the text, and then Rajan sir would play some phrases in raagams which he felt matched our sentiment. There was some (or a lot) of back and forth until all of us were completely satisfied with the outcome. (Sometimes Rajan sir danced too…)
In the next few posts, I will talk more about the individual pieces, the different lines from the text that inspired us, and lastly, what innovation has meant to us while developing this work. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with these…
The Cloud Messenger
Premiering Sept 11-14 @ CounterPULSE
Music Composition by GS Rajan
Directed by Nadhi Thekkek and Sophia Valath
Choreography by Nadhi, Sophia, and Arun Mathai
Musicians: Sindhu Natarajan (vocal), GS Rajan (flute), MS Sukhi (mridangam), Kali Futnani (nattuvangam)
Dancers: Nadhi, Sophia, Arun, Jaya Kurian, Esha Nambiar, Shanti Ramrattan, Sri Jannapureddy, Priya Sreedharan, Tanu Sreedharan, Vidya Sundaram, Vineela Poddatoori