23 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

My biggest fear is becoming jaded: Shobana

Indian National Award-winning actress and celebrated classical dancer Shobana is bringing her latest dance production ‘Trance – Dancing Drums’ to Dubai after successful shows in Melbourne, Malaysia and India. She speaks to Shiva Kumar Thekkepat about what viewers can expect from the show

Shiva Kumar Thekkepat
3 Oct 2016 | 04:59 pm
  • Source:Supplied

Does the audience have to be well-versed in the dance forms to appreciate ‘Trance  Dancing Drums’?

The audiences need not be well versed in anything to appreciate this. They have to want to see what I have to offer creatively. In rhythm - because of the inherent abstraction- the interpretative possibilities are more, but that also makes the work more challenging. In ‘Dancing Drums’ I interweave all my mediums into what I like to call, simply as “Trance”.

What should we expect from your new show? Will it be more of fusion – which seems to be the byword these days? What is your opinion of fusion between classical dance forms?

Yes, it is largely a fusion performance and I enjoy it. Fusion is a largely under-valued term actually. It’s an experience of understanding an art that you are not trained in. It is a discovery of how and what you can contribute to existing and trusted energy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Bharatanatyam is one of the few classical forms that work with different languages actively because of its heavily coded way of communicating. It can communicate almost any situation. Classical dance is a growing and ever evolving art. Scholars, critics and lovers of art have long agreed that what is deemed as ‘modern’ now , will be called ‘traditional’ in the years to come. We don’t dance today like how we did in the earlier days when devadasis (temple dancers) used to dance. The movements in ‘Trance…’ mostly stem from traditional dances of diverse cultures, but there is some use of multimedia that completes the production and nudges the audience into the right ethos.

Did you take the international audience into consideration while conceptualizing your show?

Dance is a spiritual practice at some point. Being a storyteller I’ve always been fascinated with our legends, which can be re-told time and time again. Whether it is India or any other country, there are always people who are interested.

No, I don’t look at an international audience when I choreograph. We will also be performing ‘Trance – Dancing Drums’ in the Indian cities of Coimbatore and Madurai, and hopefully in the villages of Kerala which for me is great fun.

Do you expect ‘Dancing Drums’ to be as big a success as ‘Krishna’?

I do not expect ‘Trance  Dancing Drums’ to be as big a success as ‘Krishna’, which I have stopped performing. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I don’t get redundant or jaded in what I do. That has been my biggest fear.

More info

Trance  Dancing Drums, presented by Tambourine Live, will be staged at Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC in Dubai on October 21 and 22, 2016.


Tickets available online on Platinum List: and DUCTAC Box Office: Call 04 341 4777 or book online at


For more details or group bookings call 055 2405558.

Shiva Kumar Thekkepat

Shiva Kumar Thekkepat

Features Writer