‘It is truly an honor to be nominated as ‘choreographer of the future’ by extraordinary artist Akram Khan, and commissioned by Dance Umbrella to create this piece ‘HERE and NOW’. This opportunity comes to me at a pivotal crossroads in my artistic journey. Three decades of rigorous training and performance in the rich Indian Classical Dance form Bharata Natyam, have laid the groundwork for my creative exploration of this form. As an Indo-American practitioner, the question that continues to excite and challenge me is: Can I find a way, through this beautiful cultural art form, to make the commonality of emotion and human experience the central focus, and have the magnificent language of the form be incidental?
The piece I am creating is about ‘time’ and is my most challenging exploration thus far as it attempts to visualize and crystallize a concept that is as lofty as it is fundamental, personal, and universal. Inspired by one of my favorite mythological stories from childhood, HERE and NOW is a reflection of my complex relationship with time, as a mother, artist, and human being.’
Dancer/choreographer Mythili Prakash is recognized internationally as one of the foremost young exponents of Bharata Natyam, the classical dance form of India. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, she trained with her mother dancer Viji Prakash, and is currently mentored by dancer/choreographer Malavika Sarukkai. She performed her solo debut at the age of eight and has since performed extensively in the United States, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Scotland, France, Singapore, and India.
Mythili’s solo full length choreographies include Stree Katha (2005), Yamuna (2007), Seasons of Love (2009), Chandalika (2010), AIKYA – through the voice of Akka Mahadevi (2010), and JWALA-Rising Flame (2015). She has also collaborated with musician Anoushka Shankar in Svatantrya (2009), writer/director Gowri Ramnarayan in Yashodhara (2012), and her brother/musician Aditya Prakash in MARA (2013).
She is the recipient of the “Creation to Performance” Grant from the Irvine Foundation, the “Artistic Innovations Grant” from the Center for Intercultural Performance, and numerous accolades in India. She has worked with Director Ang Lee in the film Life of Pi, and was featured on NBC’s Superstars of Dance, introducing her rich art form to audiences around the world. Mythili will be touring in dancer/choreographer Akram Khan’s next production, Outwitting the Devil.
photo: Jorge Vismara