‘Circadian’, the latest production from Goa-based dance theatre company, Omaggio, is both a cathartic response to the COVID pandemic and a story of resilience. Traveldine goes behind the scenes with co-founder Peeya Rai Choudhuri to learn more.
“Life can and will open to its true potential once you accept and give in to its unruly ways,” says Peeya Rai Choudhuri, co-founder of Goa-based performance arts company Omaggio. It’s this lesson that she hopes the audience will take away from the dance and theatre troupe’s newest show, Circadian, which opens this April. Set to Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons‘, the production takes you on a journey through the cycle of the changing seasons over a year on Earth.
The story unfolds through six whimsical characters, fantastical imagery and a combination of contemporary dance, theatrics and graceful aerial acrobatics. “The work developed during the lockdown period and could be a reflection to the emotional state all of us experienced during the pandemic. But it’s still light-hearted and joyous,” Choudhuri explains.
Circadian is about honouring cycles of nature, but it’s also a lesson in the quiet perseverance of life. While COVID-19 has spared no one, least of all the performing arts, Choudhuri feels an important function of art is to document. “We all know the kind of battles we fought last year. It was not an ideal time to put out all we had into creating a story and representing our life and work. But bodies must move, music must be played, and art must portray these times in society. Without art we will all blend into the highlights of the year that happened,” she says when asked of the decision to debut a new show in the midst of a pandemic.
The challenges of staging a self-funding production demanded that the team innovate, evident in the dynamic set design that uses upcycled and recycled material. “For us, 2020 was a time to self-reflect and work hard with no immediate recognition or glory. We used the time to develop and sharpen our skills, set goals, and go to the next level of artistry,” Choudhuri says.
Omaggio was born in 2013 out of a need to give young performers in India a space to hone their skills according to international standards. Together with European choreographer Tino Sanchez, Choudhuri devised a training programme that combines Western and Indian disciplines, such as contemporary dance, physical theatre, improvisation, aerial acrobatics, Indian classical dance, yoga and meditation.
The company’s performance space, the open-air Maya amphitheatre, is nestled amid a canopy of trees on Anjuna hill in North Goa. Keeping in mind COVID restrictions, the 300-seater will accommodate only 90 people per show. On a parting note, Choudhuri shares her hope that after having gone through a collective experience in 2020, viewers will see a reflection of themselves in Circadian. “Audiences need to feel safe and comfortable, and everyone is craving to feed themselves on live entertainment after a year of virtual performances and engagements. At the end of the day, we are social beings who thrive on physical contact and appreciation.”
Circadian will run on weekends through April and May. For more information, visit http://omaggioperforming.com