Esplanade Presents



An Esplanade Co-Commission
Aditi Mangaldas (India)

24 Nov 2023, Fri, 8pm

25 Nov 2023, Sat, 8pm


(Intermission: None)

Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

This event is over.


“I was again enthralled by the perfection of Aditi’s technique, by the way she dynamised stage space... The music offered a powerful parallel track to her movement and her light designer created his own magic without overwhelming the dance...”
– Shanta Gokhale, eminent cultural writer and dance critic


“It’s extremely important to recognise that none of us are above social conditioning; no matter how much we would like to believe that it doesn’t impact us, it does...”
– Devrupa Rakshit, The Swaddle


Through this powerful new solo work, acclaimed dancer and choreographer Aditi Mangaldas explores the fear and taboos associated with female sexual desire that have been historically and culturally inculcated. She poses the question: why are women the world over sanctioned, judged, controlled, hounded and punished when they find the courage to embrace their own desires, in both conservative and liberal societies?


In the words of mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, “... fantasy frightens us, especially female fantasy… One way of regulating fantasy has been by propagating stories where women who pursue their desires are viewed as dangerous, hence need to be restrained for social good.”


The work is presented in three parts—Awakening roots itself in the words dreams, fragrant flower, and cage, Playing the Game explores denial, adornment, seduction and rage. The work ends with Burning, touching on her story and in her words, “consigning to flames all that is FORBIDDEN.”


Drawing from a gamut of cultures and expressing through her practice of contemporary dance based on kathak, Aditi traverses a spectrum of emotion and states of being, reclaiming and owning her desire.  FORBIDDEN is a bold, evocative and charged quest for the liberation of women’s sexual desire.


There will be a post show talk after the performance.


Concept, Choreography and Performance: Aditi Mangaldas

Dramaturge: Farooq Chaudhry

Light Design: Michael Hulls

Music Composition: Nicki Wells

Costume Design: Kimie Nakano

Mentor: Morag Deyes

Commissioned by: Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – The Drishtikon Dance Foundation

Co-Commissioned by: Sadler’s Wells, London; National Centre for The Performing Arts, Mumbai; Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore

Supported by: Dance City, Newcastle and Rajika Puri, USA


Choreographer’s note by Aditi Mangaldas

Artists are driven to explore subjects that consume them. That drive is a possession which compels artists to face and share provocative issues.


There are countless insidious ways that taboos creep into one's daily existence. Social structures, mythology, influences from popular culture, the culture of shame that women live with, all become a subconscious stream that shape our behaviour.


As an artist, I feel compelled to confront these taboos. FORBIDDEN has been realised after months of internalisation, debate, troughs and peaks; as each collaborator offered nuance to the work, till I found myself immersed in it. Sexuality is private but the taboos attached to female sexuality requires and demands taking a stand on the universal, public and personal front.


As I venture on this journey, I have held the words of Jalaluddin Rumi, close to my being, “Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free. Dance until you shatter yourself!”

Recommended Age: 16 and above.
Admission Age:
13 and above.
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Artist Information

Aditi Mangaldas

Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Drishtikon Dance Foundation's Facebook | Drishtikon Dance's Instagram

Considered a maverick in India, Aditi Mangaldas is a leading dancer and choreographer in the classical Indian dance form of kathak. Celebrated around the world for the startling richness and intricacy of her dance and choreography, Aditi is recognised for her artistry, technique, eloquence and energy that mark every performance. Unafraid to confront social and present-day concerns, she has broken new ground by using her knowledge and experience of kathak to evolve a contemporary dance vocabulary rooted in the classical.


She was nominated in the category of outstanding performance (classical) by the National Dance awards, UK. She was awarded two of India’s most prestigious arts awards, both of which she declined due to compelling reasons.


Aditi heads the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – The Drishtikon Dance Foundation.

Date & Time

24 Nov 2023, Fri


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

25 Nov 2023, Sat


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $40 $32

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