Ratna Venkat –
Preparations and rehearsals for the forthcoming Dance Concert ‘Life in a Full Circle’ are indeed full on (no pun intended).
The Concert will be held on Saturday, April 9 at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School.
After my article on the South Indian classical dance style of Kuchipudi (Indian Newslink, March 15, 2016), most of you would now be aware of the focus of the Concert but many would be wondering the concept behind its title.
It is common to be confused over ‘Life in a Full Circle’ and the ‘Circle of Life.’
These two phrases contain the same words but there is a noticeable difference between them, both in context and meaning.
‘Circle of Life’ refers to the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth – a factual way of indicating that life goes on.
However, ‘Life in a Full Circle’ is more philosophical, referring to the idea that life is a journey, leaving from our point of origin, encountering a series of events or incidences that shape our perspectives and then returning to that same point of origin with a different view of the world based on those experiences we encountered.
In other words, ‘Full Circle’ is not about learning something new but going back to what you have learnt in the past and adapting them into the present.
The idea that life goes in a full circle is apparent and can be seen all around us.
In Indian classical music and dance traditions, this is known as ‘Avartanam’, in which practitioners begin and end on the same beat in a set rhythmic time cycle.
In human society, we go through full circles all the time, when we step out of our homes (or homelands) to experience the wider world. Whether life-changing circumstances or fond memories, our starting points or birthplaces never leave us as these are built within our sub-conscious minds.
In the natural world, some species of animals and birds follow this uncanny instinct and come full circle in their respective journeys. To begin the next generation, female turtles return to the same beach where they were born to lay their eggs, salmon return to their natal rivers to spawn, and migratory birds such as swallows fly back to the same nesting area where they were born and raised.
The month in which this concert is being held is also significant as April denotes new beginnings and a reawakening of past events.
Easter celebrations (though wrapped up towards the end of March this year) represents the start of a New Year. This coincides with New Year Celebrations in many parts of India; such as ‘Gudi Padwa’ (Hindu New Year on April 8), Telugu and Kannada ‘Ugadi’ (April 8); and Tamil New Year and Malayalam New Year known more popularly as ‘Vishu Kani’ (April 14).
The ‘Life in a Full Circle’ Dance Concert is on a par with these festivities and celebrations, as the New Year also marks the beginning of a new circle, a new journey for each of us.
I invite all of you to come and be a part of this ‘Full Circle’ celebration on April 9.
Editor’s Note: Ratna Venkat is a dancer and choreographer, a linguist fluent in several languages including English, French, Hindi, Tamil, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic, and editor of ‘Artlink’ at Indian Newslink.
‘Life in a Full Circle’ is a Dance Concert conceived and presented by her. Ratna will be supported by Balu Mallela (Mridangam), Narsing Rao (Cymbals), Dr Padma Govardhan (Carnatic Vocal), Syamala Hariharan (Violin) and Vishnu Priya Mallela (Carnatic & Hindustani Vocal) in the Classical ensemble, and Amit Sengupta (Harmonium), Basant Madhur (Tabla), Hemant Thaker (Keyboard), Jeffery Nathan (Vocal & Guitar), Joseph Alexander (Electronic Drums & Octopad), Shivan Padayachi (Bass Guitar) and Vidya Teke (Hindustani Vocal) in the Fusion ensemble.
Tickets, priced $20 per person (all aged six and above), are available at selected outlets.
Pictures by Narendra Bedekar