Hyderabad: Of late, the terms such as “flow art” and “flow artist” can be increasingly seen on instagram bios, with profiles showcasing the person perform a series of flowing movements with or without props.
One thing that is common to all these performances is that these are usually not choreographed and are impromptu and ‘going with the flow’, hence the name, Flow Art. Just the way this form of expression is emerging globally, Hyderabad is also budding new flow artists, who utilise movements as a form of therapy and expression.
Patruni Sastry, a city-based Bharatanatyam dancer and a drag artist is also a practitioner of flow art and according to him flow art is very different from other forms of dance as there are no set steps or choreography in it. “Unlike any classical dance form, flow doesn’t have any rules and there’s no right or wrong here. The mood and the emotion of the performer creates the movement and it helps a performer internalise the art of dance into themselves. Even the props that may be used, they become elements of the performer’s body,” says Sastry.
Manikandan Muthu, a city-based juggler, also echoes similar views, saying, “Juggling is also a flow artist as there is no instruction or choreography here. All the props – rings, pins, poi, sticks, control you as much as you control them and it is just moving your body in a certain manner. There’s no restriction of any sort in flow arts.”
For Sravan Telu, a male belly dancer from the city, the freedom of expression offered by flow art enables him to improvise and improve his art as well. “I’ve been belly dancing for years but somewhere along the line, I realised there are certain styles of belly dancing that have elements of flow art. We don’t rehearse or choreograph for these and instead, we just go ahead with whatever we feel like doing at the moment, especially when props like a veil are incorporated into it,” he says.
Flow movement is also used in a therapeutic manner according to these artists. “Flow art is also therapeutic as most people are just accustomed to a certain range of movements owing to a desk-couch-bed lifestyle. Flowing or swaying your body to music even if you’re just in your own room, will help release a lot of stress,” says Sastry, adding, “When you put up your favorite song and you start moving to it, your mind tends to imagine scenes from the song and it diverts you a lot. The slow, easy, wavy movements one can do also release tension and stress in the body.”
Muthu also speaks about the de-stressing potential of these arts, saying, “My form of art needs complete focus so it takes your mind away from other stresses and apart from that, juggling is also a great way to incorporate mild exercise into your lifestyle as you have to move your body in a certain manner while juggling.”
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