We all know that the Earth is 70% ocean, and that oceans play a vital role in hindering the impacts of climate change. Yet how many of us are actively doing something to protect this ecosystem that serves as the lifeline for our planet? We, Prakriti Dance, seek to use the language of dance to encourage dialogue around ocean conservation and sustainability. In addition to performing in our upcoming production, “Through the Fish Eyes,” I am directing a documentary that chronicles our artistic process from conception to completion of the production. What I love about the medium of film is that it has the potential to reach audiences in all corners of the world. We can share our journey of using dance to spread awareness about ocean conservation and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Through this documentary, I hope to create global family that can collectively work towards to goal of a more sustainable Earth.
As many of you know, making a film is an adventure in itself. Whenever I set out to make a film, I first make sure that I have a strong, compelling story to tell. I spent much of this past winter trying to come up with a story, but I felt like I was going in circles. Then one fine day I was at the gym talking to a friend about the “Through the Fish Eyes Production.” I explained the various steps we take to put a show together - research, choreography, music composition, rehearsals, marketing, etc. His fascination with the intricacy of the process made me realize - I’ve had the story all along! Many times when we see a production on stage, we don’t realize that behind that production is an elaborate creation story. What if we shared our creation story through film? And thus the seed was planted for the documentary. Given that our documentary is currently still in it’s nascent stage, I’ll have to wait till the next blog post or two to share more. Stay tuned!
Ok…taking off my filmmaker hat and putting on my dancer hat. When people ask “what does dance mean to you” the first answer that always pops into my head is that it is an educational tool. With dance, one can interact with the content and interpret it in a very personalized way. For example, I feel that my education in Bharatanatyam growing up provided me with a unique way to engage with both Hinduism and my Indian heritage. The act of physically embodying say, Krishna, and performing his stories based on my interpretation, gave me the opportunity to contextualize his life to my own. Similarly, dancing in “Through the Fish Eyes” has given me a chance to understand issues surrounding ocean conservation in ways that simply reading about this topic could never do. I’d definitely say that enacting these ocean creatures through dance has made me empathize with them on a whole new level and has further motivated me to take the action needed to protect them. I look forward to bringing this production to the stage and hope that the educational power of dance will inspire our audiences to create positive change.
Madhavi Reddi is a Core Dancer with Prakriti Dance. She is a Film Maker, Professor, Photographer and Artist.
Follow The Journey
This blog follows the conception, creation and presentation of our new project "Through Fish Eyes" - an Art/Science work that urges ocean awareness and conservation through the medium of Bharata Natyam. This work has been supported by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, The Boston Foundation, Boston Cultural Council.
Photo Credit: Siva Sottallu