“The Courtesan Project” by Manjari Chaturvedi
The concert relives the magic of The Courtesan, the muse for poets, painters, sculptors, artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and the creative thought at large.
Manjari Chaturvedi 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.”
This project is a medium to draw the attention of the society towards our erstwhile courtesans and how discriminatory practices impacted NOT only their life but also of their families.
Thus, advocating and creating much required space for them as an ‘artist” in the society through cultural activism and social change. The well-researched cultural production dedicated to the performing art of the courtesan will bring to forefront the performing art of the courtesans through both Information, Communication & Technology and the live performance. This will make it a unique production AS IT IS ENTERTAINMENT BUT WITH A STRONG MESSAGE.
This is an exhaustive research as it brings alive dance and stories of women who were stigmatised by the society for being performers both music and dance and in an unfortunate society ridden by gender discrimination were not even part of the documentation history of the performing arts.
Hence it becomes imminent we tell their brilliant stories to the world and show their their art, their music, their dance. This is a part of the gender in arts, and how the gender of performer shapes the art for future. Those forgotten dancers called tawaif & nachnewali who do not find space in the documentation of performing arts, whereas their counterpart men performers are referred to as “Ustads” and the incredible women merely as “Nautch Girls”. These were the women who moved from the Kotha and formed the part of the Parsi theatre and then subsequently were the first women performers for the big Hindi Film Industry. And their contribution to art largely remains un acknowledged. This project brings their art to the foreground.
Classsical Dancer, Director & Choreographer, TedX Speaker, Cultural Academia
Europe (France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, U.K. & Ireland, Armenia, Georgia), the Middle East (Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait), South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka) and Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan) along with Australia and America.
Among the many prestigious venues she has performed at the Symphony Space, New York City, Judith Wright Centre For Performing Arts – Brisbane, Smithsonian Museum, Washington Dc, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London, Uk, Sydney Opera House, Australia, National Gallery Of Victoria, Australia, Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, Parliament House, New Delhi