Source of Performance Energy: A Workshop



1st Workshop—November 20th to november 30th



Founded in 1981 Adishakti is a performance company engaged in the research and reanimation of traditional knowledges in theatre, dance, music, movement and craft forms — with a view to creating a contemporary hybrid aesthetic and performance language. Over the years it has evolved a largely physical craft for feeding the physical, vocal and psychological expression of the actor based on certain physical forms like Kalaripayattu the Kerala martial art form, breath practices for psychological expression used in Koodiyattam a form of classical Sanskrit Theatre and the rhythm patterns of music which accompany Koodiyattam performance. Although all these forms are rooted in a specific cultural context Adishakti has endeavored to seek out the fundamental principles underlying these practices to make them applicable to a wide constituency of performers: those from different cultural and aesthetic contexts and from different kinds of contemporary and traditional performance.



The workshop aims to equip the participant in the basics of this physical craft and to be autonomous in applying and extending this praxis towards their own performance practice.



6.45 am -7am.: Eye Exercises


As the eyes are an important medium of communication, the workshop will have a 15 minute series of exercises daily, to enable the participants to develop focus and energy in the eyes. The results of this should be evident by the end of 10 days.


7 am -8am: Physical Training of the Body


Body exercises for warm up and flexibility. 

Those exercises will be taught and practiced which, also reinforce recognition of certain centers in the body which initiate the dynamics in the body. The alignment of the body in the structures and stances of these exercises brings to awareness not only that these centers exist but also where they are located. 

This awareness can contribute to the creation of new movements and a new movement vocabulary as well as give the performer a control over everyday movements so as to make them performative. This aspect of the exercises, of putting to performative use the discovered centers, would be taken up in the 5pm to 7 pm session everyday.


The exercises for the 7am -8am session would include :


Kalaripayattu – the martial art of Kerala


Asanas – static postures and stances of the body aimed at concentrating awareness on a particular part of the body


Surya Namaskar – a series of asanas in motion involving the breath in the body and moving from one point of concentration in the body to another


By the end of elecen days the participants would have awareness of the body centers and be equipped with a certain number of body exercises for flexibility and stamina.



8am-9 am: Voice Exercises


Participants would become aware of the physiological elements which are involved in voice production and its cultivation. And they would be put through a series of exercises which are aimed at increasing their physiological capacities to wards this end. There would be a greater awareness of how the voice of the actor can be cultivated at the end of the 10 day session.


The voice exercises would be a take home series, to be practiced everyday.

9 am-10am: Breakfast


10am-11.20 am: Breath Practices for Psychological Expression:


Adishakti has evolved a purely physical craft for the stimulation of emotion and psychological expression. As breath is the physical expression of thought and emotion it 

implies that a particular emotion has a particular pattern of breath. In Koodiyattam practice there existed the knowledge of 8 patterns of breath corresponding to the 8 emotions mentioned in the classical Sanskrit treatise on performance –the Natya Shastra. It is apparent that this codification emerges from a study of breath behavior in every day life.


In this session participants would be taught the 8 patterns of Koodiyattam breath and encouraged to discover the every day breath from which these emerge. They would practice the art of using this everyday breath for stimulating and expressing psychological states.


11.20 am -11.30 am: Coffee Break 


11.30am-1pm: Text and Performance

One of the critical aspects of the actor’s preparation for performance is to know how to start dealing with her text. This session would assist in understanding the energy that vowels and consonants have in shaping the word; then understanding the energy of the sound of the word and its role in releasing significance.

This session would also explore how breath, thought and emotions are related. And the role of rhythm in the internal landscape of the actor.


1pm-2pm: Lunch

2pm-3pm : Rest


3pm- 4.30pm: Learning Rhythm

Rhythm, like the physical image, embodies a preverbal stage in the process of our coming to grips with reality. When words supplant images/sound we loose contact with a direct and fresh experience of reality, for it begins to be provided to us through the indirect agency of the created word. It is enabling for the performer therefore to step back sometimes from the thought and the word and replace these internally with rhythms which correspond; for each emotion and thought has a pattern of breath and each breath has a rhythm. 


In Koodiyattam the rhythm that accompanies the performer is
constant and feeds the performer. It feeds her inner rhythms. The breath that lies behind the expression in Koodiyattam, is one with this rhythm. Each expression, each gesture, each movement of the eye is informed by a breath which has a corresponding rhythm. Similarly all inner motivation is informed by rhythm. 


This session would engage the participants in learning a few patterns of Koodiyattam rhythm. This learning would be extended by application to text in the session from 11am -1pm.


4.30pm -5pm: Tea Break 


5pm-8pm: Concept of rhythm and its application in physical action , text and emotion

 This session would be devoted to extending the learning of the physical skill in the 7am- 8am session into its creative use and application. 

Participants would be given the opportunity to study the notions of rhythm, 

lagu and Guru concept of words .

emotional and speech rhythms of text.

structures of word and Vocal Resonance
Psychological Expression

Time would be spent in improvisations based on this awareness of centers.


5pm-8pm:swimming  and under water voice Lessons 

8pm : Dinner


How to Apply:



To initiate the process for booking please send a small bio of  by email to the following address:

and reach him at the following number


[ if you cant get him please send an sms will get back to you soon ]

As places are limited, send in your forms early.
On hearing from us regarding your selection, book your place by sending an advance of the full fee.

workshop Fee will be R.s. 25,000/- including lesson fee, accommodation on a twin sharing basis, food, laundry, etc.


Payments by demand draft should be payable to ALTAR or Adishakti and posted to: 

Veenapani Chawla, Adwaitam,8 Appavou Nagar, Vazhakulam, Pondicherry 605012,India

For wire transfer the details are given below: 


Name of Account Holder: Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research 

Account Number: 05640200027975 

Account Type: Current Account 

Name and Address of Bank: Bank of Baroda, No 58-60 Vellala Street, 

Pudhucherry 605001 


MICR Code Number: 605012002


Before making either wire transfer  please intimate at
the following email address.
Email :


Tel : 91-413-2622402/287

How to reach Adishakti 

You can reach Adishakti from Chennai {the nearest airport and main train station} by road. It is a three hour journey by bus and a two and a half hour journey by taxi. From Bangalore there are direct buses to Pondicherry which take approximately seven hours.
The Adishakti Campus is 8 kilometers from Pondicherry and is 100meters off the Chennai-Tindivanam-Pondicherry highway/ the Bangalore-Tindivanam- Pondicherry highway.
Should participants need to be picked up from Chennai we could engage taxis which would meet them and bring them directly to Adishakti. A taxi charge for such a pick up is approximately Rs.2500/-




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