This is a dance production that hooks up with a theme that India is celebrating - the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. 'Vande Mataram' is Chennai-based dance guru Sheela Unnikrishnan's new creation which is all set for December Season 2019.
It was premeried recently at the Vani Mahal auditorium in Chennai and made for a colourful recital though you would pick a few phases which could have been done for something more dramatic and closer to the theme. Like the phase that highlighted two youths who live different lifestyles - one that respects tradition and the other living in the mod-tech world.
But the trademark Sheela choreography is at the core of 'Vande Mataram'. And the visual experienced is raised by the music scored by violinist Embar Kannan and his musicians, polished well in the sound studio by the sought-after Sai Shravan.
Over 25 dancers, seniors and juniors are featured in this dance which began as an idea that focussed on Gandhi's life and ideals but slowly got a slightly different life, one woven around India's heritage and philosophy set against recent developments in the country, with a call for religious harmony and respect for culture and heritage.
Sheela's creative partner Shoba and senior dancer Harinee Jeevitha fleshed out the core ideas into pieces that could be women in.
This new production from Sreedevi Nrithyalaya, Sheela's dance academy is scheduled for some 10-plus shows during the Season.