Kalaa Utsavam 2022 ARISI : Rice Apsaras Arts Dance Company (Singapore, Indonesia & India) An Esplanade Co-Production
Apsaras Arts is proud to present ARISI : Rice, a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary performance inspired by the grains of life that link humanity across Asia. It is inspired by multiple rich facets of social, cultural and aesthetic practices borne by cultivation and consumption of rice in the region. From birth celebrations to funeral rites, rice holds important physical as well as symbolic significance in many Asian cultural and aesthetic practices.
In a shift away from epic storytelling, award-winning artistic director Aravinth Kumarasamy has imagined the dance production as episodic vignettes that intersect stages of rice cultivation with gestural rites and rituals in life stages where rice is the principal ingredient in these ceremonies. ARISI : Rice takes the audience though a kaleidoscope of dynamic images brought to life through bharatnatyam dance.
More than that, it is also a collaborative effort as Apsaras Arts shares the stage with their traditional Balinese peers with dance elements of kebyar duduk, kebyar, legong and even joget bumbung, choreographed by Professor I Wayan Dibia collaborating with the company’s resident choreographer, Mohanapriyan Thavarajah. Together, they reimagine stories in the paddy fields and celebrate our life stages as we use rice in our multitude of cultural and spiritual rituals.
Additionally, for the first time ever, Aravinth collaborates with critically-acclaimed film director K. Rajagopal, who contributes another powerful filmic layer of stories from former farmer migrants who now eke an existence in developing foreign lands.
There are also musical collaborations with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra that melodically enhances the music score composed by Rajkumar Bharathi. Directed and produced by Sai Sharavanam, the production features an immersive soundscape created through live Indian and Chinese instruments played by leading award-winning musicians such as Bombay Jayashri Ramnath, D Sathyaprakash, Naveen Iyer, Pratik Srivatsava and other eminent musicians. It additionally includes Balinese gamelan and kecak choric singing to echo and accent certain scenes.
Following the success of earlier co-productions with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay of dance-theatre works—ANGKOR – An Untold Story at Kalaa Utsavam 2012 and ANJANEYAM – Hanuman’s Ramayana at Kalaa Utsavam 2017—Apsaras Arts Dance Company is excited to present another epic dance-theatre production for this annual festival.
Concept and Artistic Direction: Aravinth Kumarasamy
Choreography: Mohanapriyan Thavarajah & Dr (Prof) I Wayan Dibia
Music Composition: Dr Rajkumar Bharathi
Music Direction and Produced by: Sai Shravanam
Costume Design: Mohanapriyan Thavarajah
Film Directed and Produced by: K Rajagopal
Lighting Design: Gyandev Singh
Dramaturgy: Lim How Ngean
Research Advisor: Dr Nandita Krishna
Music performed by leading Indian musicians from India and Singapore, Singapore Chinese Orchestra and leading Balinese musicians.
Dance performed by Apsaras Arts Company Dancers, Singapore and Balinese classical dancers from GEOK Ensemble, Bali, Indonesia.