An exceptional and first time ever coming together of Classical Indian dance and music and Black metal music.

Conception, Artistic direction and Choreography : Rukmini Chatterjee
Music : VREID. Indian dancers: Rukmini Chatterjee, Anuj and Smriti Mishra. Indian musicians: Vikas Mishra and Dinesh Kumar. Projection and lights: HC Gilje.

March India – June Norway – September France

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Filmed in India: 2012 (2.48 mins)

Rukmini Chatterjee Questionings


DECCAN HERALD :Bengaluru. April 3 2012, DHNS: Of metal and classical steps : Interesting Concept.
Contemporary met classical recently at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, during ‘Questionings’, a one-of-its-kind music and dance performance conducted by the ICCR.
Although this concept evokes a certain degree of scepticism at first — after all, it’s hard to imagine two genres more different — the entire recital was beautifully planned and executed, giving viewers a marvelous taste of classical beauty and contemporary energy.
What was especially attractive about the recital was that neither genre lost its core appeal in any way.
Rukmini Chatterjee herself claims to believe in ‘meetings’, not fusion — and a meeting this definitely was. Both the Indian and metal segments remained true to their tradition.

THE HINDU : Delhi. March 29, 2012, by ANJANA RAJAN: Talking of the white essence.
It could have been seen as another one of those ‘East-West’ fusion attempts. Indeed as for technique it was impressive.
But what was clear in “Questionings”, a project conceived and spearheaded by Paris-based Bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Chatterjee who also danced,was that more than technique, it was a bringing together of satvik and tamasik energies. This was especially apparent when Rukmini’s Bharatanatyam was juxtaposed with Vreid’s rhythmic tsunami.
When Bharatanatyam’s geometric postures were placed against the vertical poses of the guitarists, they invoked the inverted triangle yantra, projected on the screen at the back.

THE TIMES OF INDIA : Ahmedabad. March 31 2012: Black metal blends with Indian Dance
The audience at Jai Shankar Sundari hall were left awestruck when they witnessed for the first time the meeting of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Black metal music on a common Platform.

THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN : Delhi. 1st April by PAWANPREET KAUR: Rasa, tala and the growl of Nordic black metal.
Can art forms as disparate as Bharatanatyam and Black Metal music converge to create a unique form of expression? Unbelievable as it sounds, for the first time ever, denizens of Delhi were treated to a rare jugalbandi of rasa, tala and bhava of Kathak and Bharatanatyam with twanging guitars, fast tempos, shrieking vocals and avant-garde song structure of black metal music.
So as rasikas of Bharatanaytam and Kathak sat tapping their feet to the beats of the tabla and the mridangam at the Kamani auditorium, there were hordes of young metal fans in the audience, howling and head-banging to the fast tempos of Nordic music.
For Chatterjee, who choreographed and directed the performance, it was an extension of her work towards bringing different art forms to communicate with each other.
So did Chatterjee ever fear condemnation from classicists? “No, for I never really changed any of the art forms. As the make-believe boundaries melted away, we realised that both their quests is to understand the self,” she concludes.

THE PIONEER : Delhi. SUNDAY, 25 MARCH 2012: Black metal moods set to white taals.
The pairing of shrieking vocals, distorted guitars and a fast tempo, with the classical sur, laya and Sanskrit chants like Mahamrityunjaya mantra and Mahalaya mantra is an unusual combination.
The genre of black metal is known to be extreme and aggressive. While Mahamrityunjaya is known to be ‘great death-conquering,’ and Mahalaya invokes the Goddess.
Bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Chatterjee blend’s both of them interestingly.

THE INDIAN EXPRESS : Delhi. March 29 2012, by Sushanshu Khurana: Black Metal Ghungroos.
Dancer/ Choreographer Rukmini Chatterjee combines the traditions of Indian classical dance with the growls and snarls of black metal to present urban issues in a new light.
The 50-minute production, divided into five parts, will also travel to Ahmedabad and Bangalore, and later to various prestigious venues in Europe — including The Opera of Oslo in Norway, Le temps d’aimer la danse, one of the more popular dance festivals in France and other theaters.

The Times of India : The Crest Edition : Delhi. Malini Nair | March 31, 2012: Xtreme natyam.
Last Monday in New Delhi, when Darpana trained dancer Rukmini Chatterjee did her bharatanatyam-meets-Norwegian black-metal act, there was Vreid, a band of long-haired headbangers growling some apparently mystical lines in English about shape-shifting, to which a stunning Chatterjee, draped in a minimalist white sari, choreographed sequences that were full of references to Tantra, Shakti and kalyug. She wore ghunghroos, but you couldn’t hear them above the wild music that made your heart thump. And to the rage exhibited by the music she would respond with equal ferocity, freezing into fiery poses, leaning into the screaming guitars.
But, here’s the best part – the hall was so jam-packed that you couldn’t find sitting space on the aisles. And mostly with youngsters – who had clearly come to listen to the headbangers – and as for the dance, well they enthusiastically and graciously cheered that too.
And it doesn’t matter what drew them in, the promise of wild music, the promise of bharatanatyam or the promise of what strange thing results when the two meet.
This is not to run down the dancer’s talent, or equate it to Bollywood’s often churlish inventiveness. She comes from the Darpana school and has a big body of work behind her, including experimental choreography. But the fact is that for the younger generation of dancers like her, the classical repertoire, seen as old-fashioned, is simply not enough to engage audiences.
Isn’t the good old margam enough? How much should we change? How far can we go? Should you hold your own as you fuse forms? Or go the whole hog?

MUMBAI BOSS: Mumbai. MARCH 28, 2012 8:25 AM BY EDITORS: Where Bharatanatyam Meets Black Metal.
It’s where heaven meets er, hell. The traditions of Indian classical dance and black metal might seem far too disparate to ever come together but that’s exactly what happens in Questionings, an hour-long performance choreographed by Paris-based bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Chatterjee.

MID DAY : Mumbai. 28/ 03/ 2012-04-08 , By Soma Das: END OF THE WORLD SYMPHONY.
Norwegian Black Metal music meets Indian classical dance forms Bharatanatyam and Kathak in a fiery performance, titled Questionings.

Is she scared of criticism from purists?
I believe that every form is interlinked and when you delve deeper and combine two forms, however different they are, it shows the universality that exists.
With a world premiere in India that took off in Delhi yesterday, the show will travel to Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Mumbai this week, before it opens at the Oslo Opera House.

THE TIMES OF INDIA : Ahmedabad. April 1, 2012, by Deepika Sahu: ‘No difference between my life and art’.
Rukmini saddles between two cultures effortlessly and looks at life intimately through her dance. She doesn’t even think for a nano second when she says, “I see no difference between my life and art.”
She comes across as an articulate and affable person whose hands move beautifully even as she makes a point with passion.
She was in Ahmedabad for a performance titled ‘Questionings’ along with Norwegian Black Metal band, Vreid.

Rukmini Chatterjee’s latest dance creation is one, which will make you reel in wonder. Known for juxtaposing Bharatanatyam with ballet and other dance forms, we learn from Rukmini about her work and her inspirations behind it.

OPEN MAGAZINE. Ghungroo Feet BY Lhendup Bhutia.
Different fans did come, and what a sight they made! As the performance unfolded on stage, another took place in front of it. The audience included wizened old men and women, along with middle-aged connoisseurs of classical Indian dance, who sat on chairs, said ‘wah, wah’ and clapped. It also included youngsters with long hair and beards, standing—often on chairs—in T-shirts that read ‘Who Needs God When We Have Satan’, and bounced their heads in the air (or head banged) in appreciation. Who could have doubted we were in the midst of Kalyug?

THE TIMES OF INDIA : Ahmedabad. Deepika Sahu, TNN Apr 12, 2012, 12.00AM IST: Fusion’s a much abused word: Hvall
….says Norwegian black metal musician Hvall in an interview with TOI
Ask him about his experience of working with Rukmini Chatterjee and he says, “It was a completely different art form. I would not use the word ‘difficult’ but I would say it was more challenging. And I must say that it’s not a forced coming together. So, in that way it makes it more beautiful and all encompassing. Our music band has been for the past few years looking to expand the horizon of music that was so very synonymous with black metal music.”
Talking about his music, he says, “Through my music, I continue my existential questioning. We see life more as a cycle. We like living in the present. For me, there’s no tomorrow. I believe, there’s a cycle of life within the life I am living.”


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