Primarily working in the Bharatanatyam idiom, Rukmini finds her vocabulary and process of creation changing with each production. Her varied education in the arts helped her develop contemporary processes of approach, while still working in the bharatanatyam vocabulary. Although she does delve into fully contemporary movement vocabulary, she believes that she currently has a stronger voice in bharatanatyam, so that is her primary movement inspiration.
Rukmini believes that we cannot exactly define what is traditional or contemporary. Something that is a�?contemporarya�? is more a thought process than a vocabulary of movement. So her work is developing slowly into something that may or may not fall into either sphere.
The Raadha Kalpa Company
Rukminia��s perspectives have grown and changed through her years as a choreographer. Her first explorations as a choreographer were all solos, choreographed on herself. Her first full length solo was on “Andal” based on the tiruppavai, sung in Tamil, her second full length solo was “Rukmini” , staged in year 2000. Subsequently there was “Krishnaa” , and later “Megham” a thematic production on water.
In 2010 she founded the Raadha Kalpa company and began working on duets and later large ensemble work. “Shankarabharanam” and a�?Raadhaa�? were followed by a�?Raadha Rani”, her first ensemble work in Bharatanatyam. All her work until 2010 , she considers as initial experimentation. She believes that she began to find consistency and choreographic structure and intention only after this.
In 2012, Rukmini choreographed “Nayani” a very evoking story of a tribal girl. The bharatanatyam dance drama toured and performed all over the United States, raising funds for Aim for seva. This was a breakthrough of sorts for Rukmini in classical choreography.
2013, turned out a�?Prabhavatia�?, a musical and a romantic story of an Indian Demonic Princess. It toured the USA and Middle East to appreciating audiences.
2014 and 2015 were years of experimentation and research. She worked on a lot of solos that fit into the Maargam format of presentation, and also solos that approached the Maargam differently. She also created a piece a�?Yamaa�? that was the first ensemble work that broke away from traditional norms of expression.
2016 She created a�?Turiyaa�? a trio that pushed further into contemporary thought processes.
She is currently working on a�?The Dark Lorda�?, an ensemble work that will be premiered in July 2017 and a solo a�?Malaa�? that will be premiered in October 2017
a�?I seek inspiration from everywhere. If I have an idea that has sparked something, I see it all around me. In almost everything. It permeates my thoughts even when I am sleeping. It takes years sometimes for this to materialise into something. I may think of something today and eventually do something about it after three years. It doesn’t matter how long I have worked on something. At the end of it, if it doesn’t work for me, I let go of it. Most of choreography is learning about what not to keep! I am slowly becoming more aware of this with each year passing.’
Rukmini works constantly in creating solo work in the Bharatanatyam vocabulary. She creates a new a�?Maargama��, (a traditional format of performance) every year that she presents in art forums and festivals as a Bharatanatyam soloist. This is an ongoing process of creation and the format of presentation is very different from what the western world is used to.
Rukmini has created many short contemporary solos as a process of learning and experimentation. Her Bharatanatyam work and contemporary work existed separately till a few years ago, but now the lines between the two are organically blurring and the worlds colliding. Her creative world is beginning to span anything and everything that she knows or is aware of. It is becoming just a means of expression with the tools she possesses.
She was a GSDR, (Gati summer dance residency) resident, in 2011, and she spent her three months in delhi working primarily to find new ways of moving. She worked on imagery, inspiration of movement and ideas that initiate movement in the body. It was a time of physical revelation as she broke away from the structure of training that her body was accustomed to. The piece she arrived at was purely a study of movement and has served in her work since then.