To Varnam ... with Love

A story of love, devotion and commitment; to a god, to a myth, to a way of moving and being.


Set against a projections visual backdrop, this research places the Varnam, a ‘piece de resistance’ of a Bharatanatyam repertoire performance, within an ever-changing, fluid contemporary moment.


Personal, artistic lineage, historical nostalgia and reverence for tradition form the core of this research. Notions of the text being alive through generations of dancing bodies, the mystery of the ‘Dance of Breath’ of Lord Shiva in his form as Tyagesa, and a different approach to the processional dance are some of fragments of creation being explored.


Inspired by Saskia Kersenboom’s book ‘Word, Sound, Image’ (1995) and Chitra Sundaram’s performance ‘Moham – A Magnificent Obsession’ (2003). Created as part of The Place’s research and development programme Choreodrome 2017.


Choreography and performance

Divya Kasturi



Chris Fogg


Dramaturgy and movement


Chitra Sundaram


Video design

John-Marc Gowans


Rohanne Udall



‘Mohamana’ Varnam, composed by Ponnaih Pillai (b.1804)

Additional composition, vocals and instrumental: ‘Chitravina’ Ganesh


Thank you to:

Dr Avanthi Meduri, Smt. Nandini Ramani and Nina Head

To Varnam... with Love was supported as part of 
Choreodrome 2017, The Place (London).
Research and development was funded by Arts Council England, and supported by The Place, Trestle Arts Base,
Watford Palace Theatre and Akademi.
Sharing were presented at The Place's Touchwood showcase (September 8 2017) and as part of Fun Palace at Trestle Arts Base (October 8 2017)

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