At a current webinar, as a part of the Indian Performing Arts Conference by Apsaras Arts, dancer Mavin Khoo narrated the story of how he, as a nine-year-old sporting a cute Mickey Mouse watch, attended a masterclass by guru Adyar Okay. Lakshman in Malaysia, and ended up changing into his pupil for all times. “Lakshman Sir was making us do thattadavu in third velocity and I simply stored going… Once I was lastly carried out, I keep in mind Sir joking about how everybody wears a watch to see once they can cease apart from this little one (me, that’s) who wears a watch to see how lengthy he can go on for.”
Greater than three a long time after the Mickey Mouse watch story, the Malaysia-born Mavin is a Bharatanatyam and ballet exponent, choreographer, artiste-scholar, instructor, a Londoner, and a artistic affiliate on the Akram Khan Firm (AKC). Queer in his identification, labelled typically a ‘guru’s boy’, not shy to discuss god, unafraid of emotional attachments, and everlasting pupil in a life-long relationship with dance, Mavin admits that with age, he feels extra like a 10-year-old. “I’d say that the one essential high quality, apart from a complete host of others that my gurus gave me — and so generously — is the thrill for dance.”
I met Mavin, who was in Chennai for 2 weeks in the course of the December Season, at a espresso store that was wearing fairy lights and all issues Christmas. Mavin had taken an autorickshaw from Narada Gana Sabha after watching a Bharatanatyam efficiency by Pritam Das. “He jogs my memory of myself at that age.”
The prefix and suffix of Mavin’s schedule, which segues seamlessly by the day amongst teaching, rehearsing, watching, and spending time with elders, is dance.
Bond with town
“I really feel like I’m a toddler of Madras,” says Mavin. “My bond with town and to a specific form of viewers is one which has anchored me a lot even by all of the years that I’ve been within the West. And please keep in mind that within the West, I’ve fulfilled my experimental explorations — of identification, of gender… I’ve lived the brink on many ranges. Now in the previous couple of years, in any case these explorations, there’s a form of revealing of a centre that’s occurring, and that centre, not surprisingly is Madras. This metropolis permits me to genuinely confer with my historical past in an effort to really feel a freedom for my future.”
Central to that dedication in direction of the longer term (of dance) is Mavin’s unwavering ardour for dance, mixed with a robust sense of duty. “Truthfully, I’ve come to a spot in relation to my dance the place I’ve stopped dancing for myself. In fact, I like to bounce however I’m in an attention-grabbing area the place I’m consistently occupied with my duties — not simply to my very own dance however to all these many voices which have come collectively, over time, to assemble this voice that I name mine. You see, the factor I actually adore about Asia is the connection younger individuals have with their elders and after I come right here, I now see myself as a part of a mid-generation, the go-between the older era and the younger dancers with potentialities aplenty.”
As an ideal role-model for a era that negotiates a fragile world with advanced notions of infrastructure and professionalism, two phrases that Mavin considers inherently problematic — the arc of Mavin’s personal journey in dance is actually a fruits of dedication to a singular thought and persisting with it, letting it unravel, slowly, intentionally, organically to disclose the chances. “I believe right this moment’s era is a bit nervous about committing to the unknown,” says Mavin, and due to this fact, the duty to share dance — and generously — with the youthful era, is that rather more.
Immersive for dancers
Two weeks earlier than Mavin landed in Madras, he was with the Akram Khan Firm, in Swamimalai, as a part of a week-long immersive for dancers titled ‘Searching for Satori’. Over seven days, towards the beautiful setting of the InDeco Motels at Swamimalai in Tamil Nadu, the core workforce of AKC allowed a small group of Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancers foray into their world of dance, sharing generously their processes and potentialities in type, content material, and method, and permitting the dancers to re-look and re-invigorate their love for dance.
“I like the vitality that comes with dancers changing into college students once more,” says Mavin. “It adjustments the way in which we have a look at the dance.” In 2012, he joined the Akram Khan Firm and have become a full-time principal coach in 2017 earlier than changing into a artistic affiliate a yr later. With an enormous duty and likewise sporting a number of different hats, Mavin acts as lead rehearsal director and stager for Akram Khan’s repertory.
“Akram and I met in London after I was 18 and he was 20. For a few years, we knew what every of us was doing however in 2012, working up, shut and private with Akram modified every little thing for me. I fell in love with Akram’s work and his values,” Mavin says. “The very best factor about being with Akram is that he feels I serve his work however I really feel his area has allowed me to serve my artwork, my gurus and allowed me to take care of the values that I so imagine in,” Mavin provides.
After we completed our espresso, and had been able to wrap the interview — not essentially the conversations — the solar had set. You spoke about values, I ask. What would they be? “Obsession, insanity, dedication, give up, rigour, empathy…,” says Mavin, earlier than hailing an autorickshaw to move again to Thiruvanmiyur for his rehearsals.
Per week later, on the eve of Christmas, in a packed auditorium on the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for Kalavaahini’s Dance for Dance pageant, curated by Bhararanatyam exponent, Malavika Sarukkai, when the curtains went up and Mavin Khoo and musicians took the stage, we witnessed the approaching collectively of those values that reside deeply, consciously and responsibly inside Mavin, and letting them facilitate what looks as if his core function — “to serve dance”.
The central piece of the efficiency was Mukhari. Mavin was accompanied by Carnatic musician Sushma Soma on the vocals — apparently he had requested Sushma what her favorite raga was and she or he mentioned Mukhari. So, he determined to start out the efficiency with a varnam in that raga and structured the efficiency round that concept.