Maya Mahal at Alchemy Festival 2016

This is a new choreographic work by Chamu Kuppuswamy in conjunction with Anna Kuppuswamy, mentored by Anusha Subramanyam and Vipul Sangoi.

First shared on the 26th of May 2016 at the Alchemy Festival, Southbank centre, this new production is work is progress, incorporating a strong classical ethos and set to take the practice of classical dance forward in Britain.

An aid to the current choreographic concept is below.

Maya Mahal: The World of Illusion is a reinterpretation of the Maya Mahal episode in the Mahabaratha in which the magical palace becomes the site for revelation – I am separate from the senses. The Great Illusion (Maya) is revealed for what it is, to whoever steps into Maya Mahal. Duryodhana steps in. He SEES fire, FEELS water, SMELLS fragrance and TASTES sweetness, but does he really? Is he seeing what he wants to? A beautiful damsel? Many beautiful damsels! Is he tasting the sweetness of the fruit or her lips? Duryodhana staggers into a magical pool and is subjected to a taunt by Panchali, the wife of The Five. The penny drops. Duryodhana ‘sees’ that it all comes down to the senses and becomes aware of the observer in him. He retorts with a taunt of his own – ‘Would the knower of reality heed you? O Maya’. But once out of Maya Mahal, Duryodhana’s strong karma overpowers him. He struggles to battle illusion, which is strong, like a massive army; ‘Ethanai kodi padai’. He loses the battle and finds death in the Great War. The piece finishes with a formulaic distillation of Advaita philosophy of action through the words of its foremost exponent, Shri Adi Shankara Acharya in his famous Moha Mudgara.

Photo Credit: Vipul Sangoi

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