Dance, Festival

Pallavi through Abstractions

Organised by: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Performed by: Chowk Productions
  • Date:
    20 - 29 Nov 2020
  • Time:
    Premieres on 20 Nov, Fri, 8:00pm
    (Available online until 29 Nov, Sun, 11:59pm)
  • Duration:
  • Venue:
  • Admission:
    Esplanade&Me Specials
    $5 off for Esplanade&Me Black, White and Discover members


A "pallavi" is both a repeated refrain in carnatic music and a category of classical odissi that is pure dance, stripped of story and characterisation, accompanied only by music. At first slow and graceful, a pallavi in odissi gradually builds in tempo and intricacy, blossoming as the music unfolds.

Pallavi through Abstractions is the final outcome of the Pallavi Series (2016-2018), a three-part choreographic exploration of the grammar of the odissi dance form. It explores odissi's relationship to space, time and stillness, offering lines of increasingly complex movement, placement, stillness, and shifting balances extrapolated from odissi's repertoire.

In this film, Pallavi & Space navigates the relationship between the performance space and the abstract space inhabited by dance using odissi's "chowk" position; Pallavi in Time contemplates the body moving to rhythm with the "tri-bhang" stance; Pallavi with Stillness seeks to deconstruct odissi by isolating and accenting torso movements.

A digital premiere by Singaporean contemporary Indian dance company, Chowk, this filmed performance is a unique collaboration between dancer-choreographer Raka Maitra and local filmmaker Ler Jiyuan whose dynamic camera lens frames the pallavi to tell a riveting story of a dance form that transcends borders.

Chowk, rooted in odissi, seeks to create an Asian contemporary dance expression that dissolves the dichotomy between tradition and modernity.

Pallavi through Abstractions