For Mythili Prakash, Bharatanatyam is Personal
In the final tension-filled moments inside the ring, Prakash gives to Kali sensitively drawn metaphors for the leg that is not allowed to lift. Her arms momentarily flutter as she contemplates the sensation and imagined reality of that longed for leg-lift. But she swiftly brings these upper appendages down to the floor crossed and pinned like clipped wings. She strains to free them and upright herself, but merely manages to stand up on one leg sadly dangling the other like a useless limb. Throughout her effortful struggles and trembling deliberations, everyone in the Erasing Borders Festival audience was breathing as one with Prakash—especially as she decisively changed the story’s ending.
– fjord review, August 2022
Jacob’s Pillow kicks off the 2022 season with provocative ‘America(na) to Me’
“Ar | Dha (‘Half’)”, choreographed by Mythili Prakash, is utterly compelling, visually and aurally sumptuous, with a now-stark, now-warm lighting design, also by Faba, and a gorgeously layered score by Aditya Prakash and ganavya doraiswamy. Using the traditional story-telling framework of Bharatanatyam dance, music, and gesture, the precise yet liquid Prakash and her equally excellent musicians tip the genre, playfully, slyly, so that their tale ends in a deliciously upended way.
– Janine Parker, Boston Globe, June 2022
Outwitting the Devil review – Akram Khan’s dancers defy all limits
Akram Khan’s Dancers defy all Limits…….. Bharata natyam dancer Mythili Prakash certainly looks like a powerful god….To see bodies defy all ordinary limits, to be absorbed in their constant transformation, to witness the grace and control, to feed on their ever-changing energy and be drawn into their orbit. That is something that needs no explanation.
– Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian, November 2021
Retaining the authentic flavours of Indian dance away from home
From nattuvangam to singing to dancing, Mythili has surprised audiences in India with the integrated grounding she has in Bharatanatyam. Erupting onto the Krishna Gana Sabha stage like a flash of lightning, to the “Shiva Shakti’’ tones of a Subramania Bharatiyar composition set to a raga in the same name (Shivashakti), right up to the finale with the Swati Tirunal Tillana in Dhanashree, Mythili Prakash held the audience enthralled.
The Varnam… witnessed a dancer totally immersed in the interpretation. Apart from the evocative abhinaya, one admired the excellent teermanam links….. geometric perfection of movement by the dancer – and what is more, the beautiful dance lines going with footwork fully articulating the rhythmic utterances.
– Leela Venkataraman, The Asian Age, February 2020
‘Here and Now’: World premiere for ‘choreographer of the future’ bharatanatyam artist Mythili Prakash performs at Dance Umbrella…
Regarded as one of the finest exponents of bharatanatyam, this artist has the special endorsement of Britain’s very own totemic Akram Khan…
US-BORN Mythili Prakash is one of the leading exponents of bharatanatyam – the Indian classical dance that developed originally in the South of India – and she makes a rare UK appearance at the Dance Umbrella Festival tomorrow (October 18) for a world premiere performance….
– Asian Culture Vulture, October 2019
Mythili Prakash – In Conversation
Ahead of the world premiere of Here and Now, at the prestigious Dance Umbrella season, Mythili Prakash shares the ideas and motivations behind the new work with Shivaangee Agrawal.
Here and Now, premieres on Friday 18 October at Fairfield Halls Croydon, as part of Dance Umbrella 2019.
What was the impetus for your piece, Here and Now?
Originally it was my fascination with the ambiguity of time; as we constantly ‘time travel’ through a memory or dream, we are physically in one time zone and emotionally in another; the relativity of time where one minute spent doing….
– Pulseconnects.com, October 2019
Weaving through the space in a burnt orange sari – the only stroke of colour in the work – is a deity figure, stunningly danced by Mythili Prakash. Her movement evokes Khan’s signature kathak-contemporary physicality, paired with Bharatanatyam hand movements. The steadiness of Prakash’s movement is mesmerizing; a sublime counterpoint to the increasingly chaotic destruction that encircles the king.
– Limelight, November 2019
Watching Prakash move in slow motion is beautiful, as she intentionally carves through the space. She’s purposeful and majestic, even as she sinks down into a crouch, palms forward, head tilted back. But she’s also captivating as the choreography speeds up, sweat flying off of her body.
– Dance Dispatches, October 2019
Intelligence, profundity and a willingness to challenge things from the inside out.
Indeed, the pure dance of bharatanatyam appeared in a hundred tiny gleaming but disconnected shards, set like diamonds in the steel of a movement-based choreography rooted in bharatanatyam but which had moved beyond it to a freer expression.
In moving outside the traditional movement repertoire of bharatanatyam, Mythili Prakash harnessed a spacious physical vocabulary, sweeping low on lunges with her long legs and stretching her long arms to the sky in sequences of movements that flowed seemingly naturally from one another. Within that new vocabulary, she danced with complete commitment, whipping her elongated frame into turns and bringing it up short to reverse movements along the paths they had just taken. Yet it was not the precision or the flexibility, or even the self-belief with which she danced that marked the audience: it was her humanity. Two emotional vignettes glowed with internal colour…
Mythili Prakash’s remarkable expressional skill yoked to the music was able to convey a power which went beyond the mere narrative.
Sushma Somasekharan’s honeyed voice was given full focus, with unintrusive instrumental backing; Sumesh Narayanan’s live percussion was full of surprising and captivating patterning.
– Pulseconnects.com, August 2019
MYTHILI PRAKASH (selected by Akram Khan) is recognized internationally as one of the foremost young exponents of Bharata Natyam, the classical dance form of India. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, she trained with her mother dancer Viji Prakash, and is currently mentored by dancer/choreographer Malavika Sarukkai. She performed her solo debut at the age of eight and has since performed extensively in the United States, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Scotland, France, Singapore and India.
– Broadway World, UK October 2018
Mythili has her own brand of dancing, one that is traditional while at the same time infused with timeless energy and emotion. She is continuously deconstructing Bharatanatyam while at the same time raising the bar on technical mastery. Her dream is to form a dance company so trained dancers can have a platform to pursue dance as full-time professionals. She believes that Bharatanatyam is so rich, complex, and nuanced that sometimes it becomes overwhelming for an uninitiated audience…
– India Currents, August 2018
Dance inspired by a novel on Buddha’s life
Classically trained bharatanatyam dancers move to a jazz beat as well as Indian ragas in Mara – The Mastermind, a contemporary production helmed by American siblings Mythili Prakash and Aditya Prakash.
– The Straits Times, March 2018
Mara, The Temptor, at Esplanade on March 24
Mara is played by the attractive and much acclaimed Indian-American Bharatanatyam dancer Mythili Prakash who famously played the wife of Pi in Director Ang Lee’s award-winning blockbuster Life of Pi. Mara is also her creation, along with equally talented brother Aditya Prakash. Mara has also been staged at the Ford Amphitheatre at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York.
– Connected to India, February 2018
Over the years, the framework of bharatanatyam, predominantly showcased through ‘margam’, has lent itself to other forms of expressions such as thematic solos and ensemble productions. In a form, where the core structure offers immense possibilities for ideation and creative expression, one cannot help but notice a rise in spin-off trends from the traditional approach. It’s a situation that brings to the minds of conventional audiences a speculation about the future of the ‘margam’.
– Indulgexpress, January 2018
Darbar Festival, Saddlers Wells, London UK
“The riveting bharatanatyam dancer Mythili Prakash turned the idea of the time cycle into a kind of cosmology. Her careful compositions traced a journey through life – as explorer, as devotee, as mother – until her final scene pictured existence itself as a many-fingered flame that both ignites and consumes the mortal self.
Prakash managed to convey this cycle largely through the geometries of her style, which she imbued with such clarity and purpose that a simple arc of the arm might seem to indicate the entire globe. Hugely skilled and technically exact, Prakash made the stage into a realm of forms, feelings and ideas.”
– The Guardian, November 2017
A spotlight casts its golden glow on the dancer’s forearms holding an Anjali mudra, in the darkened environs of the stage. The fingers start moving slowly, gathering momentum, until in a state of suspended animation the arms fade away and what we see is a flame rising upwards in glowing splendour. This memorable moment, in Mythili Prakash’s performance captured the essence of the theme, Jwala, with great precision. The occasion was ARTery’s Ekam festival, curated by Ramanathan Iyer.
– The Hindu, August 2017
In the transfixing solo “Jwala: Rising Flame,” Ms. Prakash invokes the image of fire and its behavior: how it moves, what it means, what it gives and takes from us. Her warmth and brightness as a performer suit the theme; those qualities surfaced as soon as the light came up on her slowly turning figure. Five musicians, including her brother, the vocalist Aditya Prakash, joined her onstage, and from the first moment, music and dance worked together in trance-inducing harmony.
– The New York Times, April 2016
“To say it all in one line: she came, she danced, she awed and she rocked! Mythili Prakash probably put up the best show at this year’s Academy festival. She not only exceeded everyone’s expectations but out-did her own potential at her presentation, raising standards a few notches higher.
….The brother-sister singer-dancer chemistry worked its magic like never before….. Aditya’s vocal support while singing Hey nath, ham par kripa keejiye was remarkable in bringing out the mood of the composition. Ending her performance on that emotional note, Mythili got a standing ovation from the packed hall for her performance. This was easily one of the finest shows this season at the Music Academy.
– Narthaki Online Journal, Chennai 2013
When the Music Academy Madras, an institution of a standing of eight decades, organized a three-day festival featuring some brilliant dancers and musicians from India in September it indeed created a buzz. More so, when the venue was the prestigious Kennedy Centre in Washington. ….On the final day, Mythili Prakash proved that she is ready to take on the mantle from her seniors. That day, she offered her own choreography of “Surya” and “Devi,” replete with imaginitive iconic images, highlighting the architechture of Bharatanatyam and its amazing geometry; it was visual poetry…..she brought the house down and got a standing ovation. The support from musicians including her brother vocalist Aditya Prakash was examplary.
–The Hindu, Chennai October, 2013
Poise, precision, grace, and innate beauty… It was an evening of brilliant Bharatanatyam… a dedicated dancer who was totally comfortable with her classical form. Her technique, particularly in the nritta (pure dance/movement) aspect, was outstanding. There was poise, grace, precision, and an innate beauty that came through each rhythmic sequence that she executed.
– Strait Times, Esplanade Theatre Singapore, November 2011
Mythili Prakash is recognized as a leading force in Bharata Natyam, the classical dance of South India. She is an ambassador of her medium and the cultural aspects behind it. She brings with her an ensemble of outstanding musicians. It is no wonder why her work has received numerous awards and grants.The evocative physicality is precise, alluring and thrilling. Prakash has a singular presence that invites and fascinates. The creation and presentation is compelling, captivating and extraordinary.
– Chicago Stage Review, September 2010
“Mythili’s welcoming presence and stellar technique left a buzz of new interest in the genre [Bharatanatyam]…She encouraged the audience to figure out what different gestures meant, and as they called out phrases and helped complete an example sentence, the collective comprehension rose. When she resumed performing, the humongous round of applause proved she had succeeded in her goal: A hip, young, NYC audience understood – and loved – her version of the ancient dance.
– Dance Spirit Magazine, December 2008
Can an Indian plant born and nurtured in the cultural melting pot of Los Angeles grow to be such a Bharatanatyam delight, smiting the viewer speechless with the power and passion of the dance?….
Geography and distance have not dented the Indian in Mythili who is an uncommon aggregate of talent, commitment and presence with that precious ingredient of integrity, which burnishes her art with a special lustre. While describing her dance, one has to constantly rein in the unbridled praise threatening to run away…… it was the dancer’s inner fire that spoke. The strikingly bold stances, often appearing as frozen final moments just before the starting point (sama) of a tala cycle after electrifying movement, the chiselled beauty of the araimandi and the toe/heel kudittu-metta, all executed with such joy and passion sprang from the obvious fountain of youth and agility. But what of the interpretative skill where Mythili’s capacity for internalisation carried everyone on a magic carpet, the entire space charged with emotion, never allowed to be maudlin.
– The Hindu, New Delhi, March 2006
INTERVIEWS / ARTICLES
Arizona State University Press,
New Delhi 2007