The name Swan Lake has the ability to conjure images of graceful ballerinas in tutus, telling us a tale that’s as old as time, but still seems new every time we watch it. This ballet, that was written in the 19th century by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, still has a timeless appeal. So, one can expect the Siri Fort Auditorium at New Delhi to run a full house on September 22, 23 and 24 when this classical ballet piece is being performed by the Royal Russian Ballet brought down by Navrasa Duende, a production house for performing arts. An MoU between Navrasa Duende and the Royal Russian Ballet was signed in January to stage Swan Lake. The founder of the company, Dinesh Singh decided to bring this co-production in its purest form to the audience, without any compromise. “It was promoted and packaged at a good scale, but we did not want to lower it by customising it to anyone’s tastes,” says the Lucknow-born Singh. They would rather sensitise the audience to appreciate art in its original form, “though this is not an overnight process,” he confesses, which is why they are concentrating only on Delhi at this point. Navrasa Duende’s aim is to provide a platform for events that don’t even exist yet.
En pointe: The Royal Russian Ballet performing Swan Lake
Singh understands that, “art is something that can combine the world.” Hence, he brings to us Swan Lake — a combination of drama, dance and music, and the acceptance of which he remains optimistic about. While the entire crew and choreography is of the Royal Russian Ballet, the Delhi-based company was involved in many other aspects of the production, and one particular aspect served to be quite a challenge — the venue. The director of the ballet was taken around to quite a few auditoriums before Siri Fort Auditorium was zeroed in on, which brings us to question not only the appetite of the Indian audience for this type of performance, but the very infrastructure available to make this possible. “Whatever we have is at least 50 years outdated and in most of them we can’t have elements like a multi-stage arrangement, which is ideal for ballet,” Singh points out, with regards to the quality of venues.
The sensibilities of the Indian audience have been kept in mind while co-producing Swan Lake
Dinesh Singh, Founder, Navrasa Duende
Among other plans on Navrasa Duende’s calendar is a carnival around Christmas where all art forms, from music to theatre, will be available for the audience to savour. “We want a family of three generations to be able to walk in and find something for each member,” Singh says. Any plans for debuting in the South, we ask the founder. Definitely, he beams, and Chennai ranks high on their list. In the coming years, Navrasa Duende plans to stage Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and other productions.
Stretching out: A ballerina essaying the role of Odette from Swan Lake