WHAT's being served for the 5th Shantanand Festival of Arts (SFA) 2019 is like Malaysian food where bits comes from the different cultures to make a unique Malaysian dish, like curry laksa.
Says SFA 2019 award-winning musician-composer director Jyotsna Prakash: "The idea of interweaving makes this year's festival more interactive, more engaging and more aggressive in eliciting a response from both artistes and audience."
Take the dance, Bayu Semasa, curated by Shankar Kandasamy, which marries odissi to hip-hop. Says Faillul Adam, who will perform with Swathi Sivadas: "For us, we see the dance like a dialogue or conversation between two styles.
"Swathi and I explore the elements from both styles such as how rap interweaves with odissi bhols, hip-hop movements with odissi.
"For the song, we did not do any fusion but we use music that has some elements from both. For example, we use Indian classical piece that has only the pakhawaj or two-headed drum without the full orchestration.
"The most difficult part of this dance, I think, is the part where we try to corporate the elements from rap and odissi solukatus (odissi rhythm music). It is because we need to use voice and body at the same time, so it requires stamina and vocal training as well because it got another elements in that part, not only our body."
Kimberly Yap will offer Bayu Tenggara, which marries bharatanatyam with Chinese classical dance.
Yap will perform solo around the pivotal idea of the Buddha, born in India but whose teachings flourished in China.
"The choreography is going to be somewhat traditional with some contemporary ideas. I've never done a mix of the two genres," says Yap, who trained in the genres at Aswara (Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan) and at the Temple of Fine Arts.
There are two featured performances for the festival, Padmavathi Purushottamdev and Hrdaya. The latter is an orchestral production that comprises a collection of musical scores, with shadow puppetry, and live narrators.
There are two talks as well, one by Jagat director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal with film screening and the other by Professor Dr Mohd Anis Md Nor on Tilting the Balance.
Workshops are a-plenty for the SFA 2019, from a comparison of Hindustani and Carnatic presentation styles by Kumar Karthigesu and Batik, Abstract and Madhubani Art by Deepa Rajendra to Enhanced Beauty by Harshini Sukumaran, to name a few.
Says Deepa about her workshops: "I wanted the participants to enjoy the process of creating art and also take back some small souvenir of their work. Hence keeping to the theme, I came up with three workshops. All workshop materials are provided by us.
"My first workshop is on batik art. In order to interweave another art form, the motifs that I plan to teach and use are from Soura Warli. Warli is a form of folk art practiced in India and used by people to decorate their homes. This wall mural form is famous in Maharashtra and Orissa. Being very popular in Malaysia, I felt it would be interesting for the audience to learn a bit more about this art form.
"Batik art form taught me patience. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this textile craft. Patience in art is a virtue to possess. Applying wax over layers of paint, waiting for one layer to dry and then go layer by layer... colour by colour… what you see is the beautiful end result after hours of labour.”
Deepa, who is not just an artist but dancer and musician., says art is a basic human need, "we all crave for some form of creative release. Some find it through music, some through dance and some others through art and craft forms.
Harshini, who was featured in singer Yuna's video, Not The Love Of My Life, will offer a 90-minute beauty workshop for a personal makeover/grooming for any event. It is demonstration-based and participants need bring their personal makeup products to ask questions, evaluate and review at the end of the session.
Says Jyotsna about the 14 workshops for SFA 2019: "They are diverse in content, aimed at getting people to pick up a new skill, make new friends, interact with each other.
"Our workshop facilitators are masters in their field. Every workshop requires participants to engage their mind and body. This is also a precursor to testing the market on what Malaysians would like to do to enjoy themselves when they come to the TFA, apart from music and dance.
"We were lucky to have such a positive response to our call for different workshops. We are anticipating a positive response from the public too."
Shantanand Festival of Arts 2019
Where: Temple of Fine Arts, 116, Jalan Berhala, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
When: Nov 30-Dec 8, 2019