A passionate dance duet, performed by Navtej Johar and Lokesh Bharadwaj and filled with liquid movement, Frenemies is about the search for song, and the tug-of-war between love and hate, within the confines of the physical body. Unlike the overt virtuosic physicalisation of Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance, Frenemies focuses on the internal landscape of the body.
The work is created and performed through exploring the context of Bharatanatyam amongst temple dancers and courtesans, devadasis in South India and tawaifs in North India. This sensuous performance is based loosely on the sinister plot of French dramatist Jean Genet’s “The Maids”, in which two domestic servants conduct sadomasochistic role-playing rituals while their mistress is away.
Through the dialectic between the harsh realities of the housemaids’ world and the no-holds-barred love narratives of Johar’s “pleasure women”, this production seeks to arrive ultimately at a state of emptiness in the material body embedded with emotional triggers. Frenemies is about a lick, a bite, a jab, a sting, a sigh and a song, all rolled into one!