If one of the key measures of an artist’s skill is their ability to open up whole new ways of seeing, Manjari Chaturvedi is inarguably one.
Her credentials as a dancer extraordinaire are established for over two decades: pioneer and sole practitioner of a riveting dance form we know as sufi-kathak; trained in the Lucknow gharana of kathak.
But Manjari has taken her obsession with classical dance and turned it into more than expression: in her hands, it is cultural renaissance and syncretism; narrative form and dialogue.
Nothing is more evocative of this than the Courtesan Project, a unique research and documentation exercise via which Manjari seeks to chronicle the historically remarkable role of the ‘tawaif’ in artistic life: as muse to poets and painters, writers and kings, musicians and leaders.
And in so doing, she seeks to claim for these maligned women the reverence due them for their learning and their performance art; their intelligence and wit; their talent and raw sensual power.
Through dance and conversation, Manjari retells dramatic stories of power, intrigue and high art, and offer insight into why the courtesan was at the heart of creative life in traditional India, and indeed around the world.
Algebra, the Arts & Ideas Club brings together a fellowship of people who believe great cities are built not just on infrastructure but a life of the mind; who understand robust and liberal societies need the oxygen of great conversation and nuanced thinking.
At a time when we are increasingly surrounded by rage and noise, Algebra is a live and continuous space for people to come together for a genuine exchange of ideas and exposure to issues; where new seeds could be sparked, fresh perspectives formed, and intelligent connections made.
Algebra – the Arts and Ideas Club is designed to host almost 35 engagements over the year with topline thinkers and practitioners from almost every discipline that impacts human affairs: politics, economy, environment, spirituality, cinema, medicine, science, technology, music, media, literature, the arts, sports, people’s movements, et al.