What is love? Is it only about union of man and women? Is it about marrying the person in the same community, same religion and same cast? Or can one really look for love outside these boundaries. Who has made these boundaries of love? Is it the society we live in or is it we who have built these walls around love? These were some thought that came to my mind when Humsafar trust asked me to make a dance drama for them.
Issues regarding Gay and Lesbianism are hot topic of discussion today and when Ashok Row Kavi, Vivek Anand, Pallav Patankar and Sonia Giani the main authorities of Humsafar trust that deals with LGBT issue met me to make a musical for them, I went into deep thought. I wanted to come up with a story that would talk about the issue in a very sensitive manner and not make fun of homosexuality like it is mostly done in Bollywood films.
Every dancer is inspired by mythology and I am no different. As a dancer I always look for pieces from myths and history to make my dances more realistic and heartfelt. Being an avid reader of world mythology for the last 35 years, I decided to pick up a heart warming love story from the Greek Myth. The story of god of light and art – Apollo and his gorgeous lover Hyacinth.
The myth says that Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Both Apollo and Zephyr loved Hyacinth and proposed love to him, Hyacinth announced that whoever proved their strength to him he would give his heart to that person. Zephyr showed his strength and power by destroying things on earth where as Apollo created music. Hearing and seeing the wonderful creation of music by Apollo, Hyacinth fell in love with him leaving Zephyr jealous and angry. One day after making love, Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus, Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo and was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. It is said that, tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with the sign of his grief.
This sensitive story talks about Greek gods having gay relationships and I found it to be apt for Humsafar trust new musical. I finally got ago ahead from them and I feel humbled to inform you all that this is the first musical in the history of Indian theatre that is crowd funded by 68 people through wishberry. The show will open for public on 4th October in Mumbai and then travel to cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata and also do its international rounds next year.
The most difficult task as a choreographer for me was to set the story in a dance manner, the script that I have written is very poetic and the music too is very European, so what dance to use was a big question? Along with my assistants Ankita Dolawat and Ashutosh Arya I sat for days wondering and finally I decided. That being a ballroom dancer, I had to be more inclined towards using the dances that I am trained in. So I decided to show the entire love between Apollo and Hyacinth using the dance of Love Rumba which is said to be the most sensual dance in the world. For the introduction of God Apollo played by Mithun Purandare and God Zephyr played by Yuvraaj Parashar, I used moves of the foxtrot and tango but solo, this is something that I too tried for the first time. Normally foxtrot and tango are couple dances but making someone dance it alone was a challenge, but I must say the look of it solo is very unique and different. Times when Hyacinth played by Raj Kumar Singh is introduced and is enjoying with his friends is depicted with the naughty and flirty cha cha cha, which add more fun to the character of Hyacinth. And the character of Love played by Jesse Randhawa who as the sutradhar of the story appears on stage she performs the contemporary dance, here I have tried to use all the elements of contemporary dance the sad one to the happy one, from improv to Japanese Butoh I have used it all. To show the destruction by Zephyr I used Krumping as a dance known for its power and anger, but for me the most beautiful part was the dance of creation by Apollo where I used the traditional Chinese Long Sleeve dance a dance ideal for this act because as per my script Apollo while proposing to Hyacinth says ‘I will make a rainbow and let the sun shine through’ and during this dance Apollo along with the dancers makes a rainbow using his Chinese long sleeves.
This is my 8th dance drama and I must confess it has been the most challenging one for me. Firstly because I have for the first time mixed varied forms of world dances into the play and secondly I will not be dancing in this one creation of mine, so as an audience I had to be very careful that the show appeals to one and all and at the same time talks about the LGBT issue in a very sensitive and correct manner. I have always believed that good wishes and blessings of people are important to make any project successful and I am writing this today asking you all to bless this play which is made with loads of emotions and a kind thought of raising awareness about a cause that needs attention in our country today.
Artscape By Sandip Soparrkar