"The youth in Singapore are losing the touch of Tamil literature," said Jeyanthi Balasubramaniam, creative director and guru of Singapore-based classical dance studio Bharathaa Arts. Inspiring her to bring Ula – A Literary Exploration of Womanhood, to Esplanade's Raga series happening on March 22-23, 2019. (Tickets here.)
A body of devotional Tamil literature dating back to the Pallava period (275 CE to 897 CE), Ula focuses on the veneration of a deity during a temple procession and expressed through the eyes of women.
"The production explores the different stages of a woman – how she looks at Lord Shiva as a playmate, how she falls in love, and then as she matures, she comes to take him as a spiritual guide," explained Jeyanthi.
The same emotional journey can be found in that of a woman in love – which is what the dance production is trying to bring out. "As everyone can relate to the perennial emotion of love, we felt this production, though rooted in a traditional setting, would allow our viewers to relate to them on a personal level."
It was incredible talking to Suganthi Kumaraguru and Jeyanthi Balasubramaniam, well known as the Kesavan sisters and witnessing the incredible love and chemistry between them. Did make us wonder if there are other sibling-art-aficionados in Singapore. Well, that is a story for another day.
Watch the interview, which comes with a bonus rapid-fire questions and answers session: