MaMa is a new dance/multi-media production exploring the journey of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood, through Bharatanatyam dance, immersive visuals, and a blend of Celtic-Carnatic music. Developed by directors/choreographers, Kirsten Newell and Oxana Banshikova, MaMa was inspired by their own experiences of motherhood as well as conversations with women from local community groups and health professionals.
Kirsten says ”As mothers we know that during pregnancy women can experience anxiety, fear and uncertainty as well as happiness and excitement. The challenges of motherhood have been exacerbated during the Covid crisis, with mothers feeling even more vulnerable and isolated. In MaMa we portray this range of emotions through Bharatanatyam“
Both Kirsten and Oxana trained in Bharatanatyam, one of the oldest forms of classical Indian dance, at the renowned Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai. It involves communicating using a wide repertoire of hand gestures, dance steps and an elaborate range of eye, neck and head movements and facial expressions but recently their artistic practice has focussed on the modernisation of the form.
In MaMa Kirsten and Oxana integrate dance with lighting, and a soundscape featuring originally composed music by Ankna Arockiam, Jennifer Austin, Cameron Newell and Cormac Byrne, a contemporary collective that weaves together Celtic and Carnatic sounds evoking the natural world.
As part of the MaMa project, the performers will invite parents and their babies & toddlers to join in a South Asian Dance based workshop. In this they will teach different elements of South Asian dance vocabulary, for example Mudras (hand movements) and storytelling, as well as simple Bharatanatyam rhythms and clapping/tapping. The workshop will provide mothers with inspiration for new ways to interact and play with their babies.
The MaMa tour has been made possible through support from Creative Scotland Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance and the production has been produced by Vision Mechanics.