Dancing to Art

Many years ago, a young Aditi Mangaldas met Armin Sprotte, the son of renowned German artist Siegward Sprotte, at a school founded by philosopher J Krishnamurti. The older Sprotte was a great follower of Krishnamurti and his teachings, and Mangaldas' family had a close connection with the philosopher. Some years later, in 1982, Mangaldas still a young dancer making a name for herself had a performance in Paris. She sent a letter to the Sprotte family telling them about the performance and Siegward Sprotte was there to watch it.

"I couldn't believe he would travel all the way to watch my performance," recalls the Delhi-based dancer. That, however, was the beginning of a long association, one that continues between Mangaldas and the Sprotte family to this day. Yesterday Mangaldas premiered a performance titled "Now Is", inspired by the paintings of Siegward, who passed away in 2004 and would have turned 100 next year.

The admiration for each other's work was mutual between Mangaldas and Siegward. In the '80s, after watching her dance for the first time in Paris, Siegward created two series of paintings inspired by her performance, called "For Aditi" and "Aditi Dancing".

Her tribute to the painter, "Now Is", is a piece of work that has been in production for many years now. A version of the show was showcased in Delhi some years ago, but this world premiere, that was held at National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, was a comprehensive show including choreography by Mangaldas, music by Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan, and paintings/pictures in the background by Siegward that have been selected by Armin.

"It is a simultaneous dialogue between dance, music and painting that enquires whether the idea of living in the now is possible," explains Mangaldas.

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