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A Bharatanatyam ensemble production that sheds light on the philosophical significance of 'Kanda Sashti' - by Karuna Sagari

Hailing from a Tamil family entrenched in Tiruppugazh (Hymns on Lord Muruga) for over four generations, Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer Karuna Sagari presents an ensemble production, Tiruchendur. The production will explore the philosophical significance of Kanda Sashti, an annual six-day fast undertaken by millions of devotees culminating in the Soora Samharam, a ritual re-enactment of Lord Muruga subduing three demons.


Tiruchendur will delve into the innate potential of humans to seek glimpses of the Infinite even while struggling with the fallibility of human nature. It will engage with and juxtapose the profoundness of the mind against the greed, ego, anger and jealousy inherent to the human experience. Much like life itself, Tiruchendur will shed light on the essential battle – not of vanquishing darkness but instead, keeping it at bay for the light to shine through.


Karuna Sagari is a classical Bharatanatyam artiste who is currently under the mentorship of Malavika Sarukkai. She is a Kalakshetra alumna who previously trained under Sheejith Krishna for a decade. She holds two Masters degrees - in Tamil from Annamalai University and in South Asian Studies from University of Heidelberg. Karuna’s journey has also been paved by the rich oral legacy of poetry and music she inherited from her grandmother, Late Smt. Swarna Somasundaram. Her repertoire as a dancer and perspectives as a choreographer reflect her training and legacy, resulting in work steeped in imagination and depth. In June 2008, she founded Bhakti Natya Niketan, where she has since developed “the BNN method” to teach Bharatanatyam organically.


The distinctive music for Tiruchendur was composed by Susha, featuring thirteen works of original literature dating from the 5th to 20th century CE. The music is being brought to life by Susha on vocals, Karuna on the nattuvangam along with the Carnatic Quartet. The Quartet, a unique collaboration of leading musicians and instrumental artforms within the Carnatic tradition, brings together Shreya Devnath on the violin, Praveen Sparsh on the mridangam, Mylai Karthikeyan on the nadaswaram, and Adyar Silambarasan on the tavil. Praveen has further played thirteen other percussion instruments to deepen the musical richness of Tiruchendur. The studio recording of this original score was done at Resound India by Sai Shravanam, a leading producer and scoring engineer. Tiruchendur will go on tour with a live singer accompanied by a recorded track of over 18 instruments.


A production with universal relevance rooted in a Tamil sensibility, Tiruchendur will be  performed across five continents, connecting audiences through 'Murugan unarvu' or the passion for Lord Muruga. The tour will help bring a relevant living philosophy alive to a younger audience through a production that transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries. Following the fundraising concert in February 2023, the production will tour South-East Asia (Malaysia and Singapore), North America (including Canada), Africa (South Africa, Mauritius, Reunion Islands), Australia (including New Zealand), and Europe (United Kingdom and Switzerland).

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