The interview with Eleonora Levanskaya for the sahaja yogi’s creative alliance project "Art of the awaked spririt".
Question: What does dancing give personally to you?
Answer: In the world of dance only newcomers can
answer this question clear and simply. If you practice classical dance art
seriously for quite a long time you will plunge in this culture like it or not,
it means that you begin to watch the world with other eyes. For me dancing is
the way of life, I live it, but I do not just practice it.
Question: Is it easy to teach Russians how to dance
Answer: Russian people are very talented. It was
repeatedly noticed not only by my Russian colleagues but also by Indian ones.
During our performance everybody think that we are Indians, nobody have a
thought that we are Russians. But studying classical dance can’t be easy both
for Russians and Indians neither for anybody. There are very complicated beats
in classical tradition; moreover calisthenics is very unusual as movements of
hands are intricate. Everybody dance in plies (half-sitting position). It’s a
huge physical load. Besides very often during the dance hands are doing one
thing, legs are doing another, and your face is changing emotions in accordance
with the meaning of the song.
Question: How often do you perform and where the
concerts usually take place?
Answer: We perform regularly. One of our direct
places – is The State Museum of Oriental Art. We conduct lecture-concerts there,
it means that we are not just dancing but also explain the meaning of the dances
and speak about Kuchipudi tradition. In The Orient Museum we have our audience
mostly there are people who are interested in Indian culture and philosophy,
they know about different styles of the classical Indian dance. Also we
participate in concert programs in a common with other styles, for example, in
Moscow International Performing Art Centre.
Question: Why Muscovites are interested in Indian
Answer: In my opinion Indian culture is quite close
to Russian one. Just remember popularly beloved Indian films. Who doesn’t know
Raj Kapoor? India is very colorful and cheerful country with deep religiously–philosophical
roots. As well as in fact temple dance is quintessence of the culture on the one
hand and dynamical yoga on the other hand. I suppose, it attracts truth hunters.
Question: How much time does it take to study dance
to show it to spectator? Are Indian dances easy to study?
Answer: On the average it takes 2 years to study
basic movements (steps and jathis) and first required dances – Puja and
Jatisvaram. Of course as long as student regularly practices in class and works
at the material at home. After that the student is ready for the scene. But
sometimes we meet solely talented people who can master basic material for 1
year and begin to perform. Every next ensuing dance is studied for a half a
year to have digestible view for the scene, but grinding of it will continue
until the man dance. There is no limit to perfection.
Question: I would like to show Puja and Krishna
Shabdam dances, to speak about them.
Answer: Puja dance is greeting dance which is
devoted to Lord Shiva and in which the dancer pays compliment to all Lords,
Teachers and Spectators. Every performance always starts with it. Krishna
Shabdam is a traditional Kuchipudi dance, in which on example of the love
between Radha and Krishna the idea of higher love of the Individual Soul to God
is provided in symbolic form.
Question: Tell me an anecdote about Indian dance.
Answer: It’s very easy to study Indian dance – you
just need to spin a lamp with one hand and stroke a dog with other.
Question: Tell me about your project with Irish
dancers, why did you decide to take the floor with them?
Answer: It’s because we used to practice in the
same centre on Dubrovka, we met each other every day. They are very bouncy and
cheerful and they have the same music. In one moment we decided to check how
Irish beats combine with our Indian movements. Irish basic beats are 3-beat and
4-beat, we have the same. We chose the music and only had to spent time. It was
very interesting experience of the culture exchange. Just imagine it, Russian
dancers dance Irish and Indian dances to a French language song! Moreover,
turned out that Kuchipudi dancers can dance almost with every music, in every
culture they can find sophisticated beat. But other school’s dancers find it
very hard to dance with a traditional Indian music. This year we made a joint
act with step-dancers (American step), after the concert they admitted that it
was the hardest beat in their life.
Question: Tell me about your plans?
Answer: We have only one plan – dance, dance and
dance. We don’t need anything else, do we?