Shree Krishna Leela

Memorial Theatre, Victoria University, Wellington

07/10/2011 - 09/10/2011

Production Details

“Shree Krishna Leela is an exciting fast moving dance drama, which I promise will be one of the highlights of my career.” says Kinra.  “In two hours we endeavor to portray the entire life of Krishna who is the embodiment of  beauty. His appearance, his voice, his smell, his youthfulness and his joyfulness is a delight for everyone.  His charm is so overpowering that whoever comes into contact falls in love with him. This is presented using both traditional and innovative features of the Indian classical dance style, Bharata-Natyam, and we are delighted to have two professional dancers from India here to join us to present this important new work.” Mudra Dance Company last performed a major production in Wellington in 2009 and is a welcome return to the vibrant Wellington Dance scene.
The sophisticated, dynamic and rhythmic art form of Bharata-Natyam involves dance, mime and drama. Together with swift and rhythmic percussive footwork, the dancers convey complex emotion and philosophical-thought through intricate hand gestures, body movements and facial expressions.
Glittering with colorful, traditional costumes including exquisite saris, sparkling jewellery and elaborate head-dresses designed by some of India’s professional theatrical costume-makers, Shree Krishna Leela featuring a original music score commissioned especially for this production and recorded by an eight-piece orchestra performing on traditional Indian instruments. 
Vivek Kinra, dancer, choreographer and director of Wellington-based Mudra Dance Company was made a Member of The Order of New Zealand in 2010 for his huge contribution to the New Zealand Dance scene. He and performs the lead role of Krishna, alongside two professional classical dancers from Chennai, India, in other principal roles and 20 company dancers.
Gayatri Balagurunathan will perform with Kinra as well as assisting Kinra with the choreography for the production. Gayatri was the recipient of the Wellington Asia Resident exchange program in 2010 where she worked on this production and interacted with the Wellington community. She will be joined by TK Thiruchelwam who previously performed in Wellington in "Shree Ram Katha" in 2006.
In producing this major new dance work, Kinra visited Chennai, India twice with the support of Creative New Zealand and Asia NZ Foundation.  The visit included working with the other leading dancers and creating the choreography, as well as commissioning and recording the original music for the work.

Performers: Vivek Kinra and Gayatri Balagurunathan, TK Thiruchelwam  with  Mudra Dance Company and an eight-piece orchestra performing on traditional Indian instruments. 
Post-production assistance with music: James Mason

2.5 hours

Eyes dart, bodies sway, hearts swell, they adore - we adore!

Review by Greer Robertson 09th Oct 2011

Walk into the theatre and be transported around the globe and back in time.

This passionate dance drama unravels the entire story of Lord Krishna from his birth to his cosmic existence.

Of historical, cultural and religious significance this Bharata-Natyam work finally takes to the Wellington stage having been the brainchild and 3 year dream of Vivek Kinra.  The essential and extensive music was composed and recorded in Chennai, India with post production assistance from James Mason Wellington. And this project in it’s entirety, is by no means a small challenge and is one that is achieved for the most part.  Supported by in-depth and rather lengthy narration before each of the 6 Acts, Krishna’s life unfolds. Vibrant beautifully adorned in bold colours and exquisite jewelry, maidens supply the never ceasing, moving backdrop and still photographic images pull you directly into the choreographed enactment. Characters come and go, weaving the story together.

With intricate timing the well rehearsed dancers slap and beat the floor while emotively describing the conversational events by way of articulate and succinct miming. Eyes dart, bodies sway, hearts swell, they adore – we adore!   Joined by International Guest Artists Gayatri Balagurunathan and T K Thiruchelwam, the Mudra Dance Company expands to over 20 performers.

Scenes of love, struggle, torture and murder are produced.

With such a daring comprehensive and extensive work, the amount of choreography required is indeed mammoth. Towards the end however, I feel that the choreography dwindles somewhat , especially in what is to be the  fervent joyous festive celebration of Krishna and Rukmini’s marriage.

But the star of the show is Vivek Kinra himself. His ability to display authentic classical dance moves with such fluidity and seamless grace is second to none. Successfully obtaining a reputation for professional excellence in all that he does both nationally and internationally, Vivek Kinra, undisputedly brings a rich and complex art form to life. The love duo portrayed by Balagurunathan and Kinra is truly enchanting and very charming.

When Vivek Kinra dances his inner sublime transcends.

He is dance, he is love, he in this state, is Krishna.



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