Gigs, dance, art

November 26th, 2008: Shantala Shivalingappa – Namasya


I had seen that very same show last year and loved it, so I went again. I don’t regret that at all, in fact I would gladly go again. It’s that good. Having seen it before allowed me to be less dazzled by the opening solo, and that in turn gave me a new appreciation for Shantala Shivalingappa as a choreographer. I probably had a better seat as well, farther from the stage and almost dead center. I read what I wrote back then, and instead of repeating that, I will just add a few other things I noticed this time.

The first solo is called Ibuki. One thing I forgot to mention in my first post was her fingers. Whether in quick motion or striking a pose, echoing Sankai Juku or kuchipudi or neither, this was just amazing, probably the best use of fingers I’ve ever seen.

For the second solo, the one created with Pina Bausch, she had traded her white pants for a black dress, which made a nice contrast. Of course in the usual setting this solo would have taken place with many other dancers around or actually taking a part. I thought she should have a bigger role in those, but I’m not so sure now. It’s a different ballgame, and the balance is usually right.

This time I was most impressed by the third solo, called Shift, the one she authored herself. The beginning was striking with her moving accross the stage in a band of light, often crouching with a leg extended. There were faint traces of the previous ones in it, some influence from Ushio Amagatsu and in a lesser extent Pina Bausch. But those were integrated into something different and personal. Which is as I like it, not a blank slate but acknowledging while going forward. I hope she’ll repeat this experience as a choreographer, because I saw more than promise there, that solo was actually holding its own compared to the others. I was thinking of Akram Khan, who shares this ability to excell as a dancer in a traditional style and also as a dancer and choreographer in contemporary dance. Of course he’s further along the way, and I can’t say she matches him on the strength of just one solo, but I believe she has a lot to bring to contemporary dance. I hope I’ll get to see her do other such solo works, and maybe for more dancers as well.

The final solo is called Smarana and is indeed by Savitry Nair. Being farther and higher meant I could see her shadow, and that was a good thing because I had missed that part the first time. I didn’t notice it when she was swaying in the beginning, but the final part with waving arms and especially a section when she was turning around slowly was much improved by my seeing it.

I guess my “few other things” did spread further than I thought, but that’s a wonderful show, worth more and better words than I can hope to write.


November 27, 2008 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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