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Integrating Visual and Performing Arts

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the Romeo-Juliet saga? Is it the heart-breaking ending or some romantic scene? Is it Romeo entering the Capulet garden, with Juliet on the flower-laden balcony?

Well, what is your imagination? A painting, a picture, a play, a song or a movie?

Whatsoever it is, let me tell you, you are imagining it in the form of an art. Either a visual or a performance. The power of art is immense! Visual arts have frequently been influenced by performing arts, and vice versa. These two forms of art have been integral parts of each other. The idea of integrating these art forms has been followed for years. You must have heard or read about the Pichwai art, where the word “Pich- wai” stands for background cloth, which was used to be hung on the wall to be seen as a backdrop for the idols in the temples and for the drama depicting stories of God. That is, even back then, a combination of visual and performing arts was used to depict the stories.

For more information about Pichwai Art, please visit this blog.

In many ways, these depictions have assisted the audience in imagining the sanctity and piety of God in the character of the performer. The power of art can help make a common person appear as a revered one. Performing arts can serve as a promotional platform for visual arts. Imagine a band performing an event to raise awareness and funds for an orphanage, where in the background they display the paintings of the children from that orphanage. Through those paintings, people can imagine the thoughts and ideas of the little artists behind the paintings and can feel an urge to connect with them. This will surely help the audience to understand the purpose of the band performing in front of them.

Visual art, on the other hand, can be used to promote performing arts. For example, in a dance performance of a popular artist, her selected and enchanting expressions, her beauty and her sense of presentation can be captured in a picture. All we need is an avid photographer to do the needful. Seeing those pictures, anyone would want to see such an artist live on stage.

Piyush Pandey, a well-known Kathak exponent from the Lucknow Gharana, shares his views on integrating visual and performing arts to create new experiences for the audience. He opines, “The amalgamation of visual and performing arts can create wonders. Visual art is the display of a single motif at a time, while performing art can be a combination of dancing, singing, musical instruments and drama all at once. What if the concept encased in a work of visual art is brought to life on the stage? Every form of visual art has a lot to say. Performance based on it can be its simplified version. It will be like an artist’s thoughts and imagination dancing in front of the audience.”
Such depictions can create a grand experience if the performances are based on popular stories and epics. In such cases, the audience is well aware of the characters, their stories and the sequence of events, but they are eager to observe the portrayal and the intensity of the act. While sharing one such experience, Piyush said, “It is indeed very fortunate to get an opportunity to play the part of a mythological or historical character. It is more of a responsibility than an opportunity. You are playing characters that are deeply ingrained in people’s minds, so it is also essential to justify the role as per people’s expectations. To add to the grandeur, displaying a painting or portrait of the character you are playing as a backdrop would undoubtedly enhance your performance. For example, if you are performing an act based on the Ramayana's "Coronation of Prince Ram," and the visual of Lord Ram as King is displayed, it will not only provide a magnificent experience for the audience but will also add to the vigour of the artists performing on stage."
These two types of art forms are meant to go hand in hand. Along with creating refreshing experiences for audiences, the union has a lot of creative potential for artists. It can bring about a change or add new dimensions to the way art is perceived. So, let us collaborate, connect and create wonders!

Thank You


A Discussion with Kathak exponent Piyush Pandey

Piyush has been practicing this art since his childhood and is currently pursuing a post-graduation course (Nipun) in Kathak from Bhatkhande Sangeet Sansthan, Lucknow. He is a disciple of Pt. Anuj Arjun Mishra Ji, who is the thirteenth generation of the Lucknow Gharana, serving the performing arts. Piyush has presented Kathak on national as well as international platforms and has been appointed to judge several notable classical dance contests. Along with being a proficient performer, Piyush is also known for having a detailed knowledge and understanding of Kathak literature.

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Integrating Visual and Performing Arts by Surabhi Thakur
Surabhi blends the beauty of integrating visual and performing art and how the amalgamation of both art forms creates a picture beyond imagination.
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