Gigs, dance, art

November 30th, 2008: Alarmel Valli – The Forgotten Seed


Alarmel Valli is one of the big names in Bharatanatyam, at least over here. Seeing here again after a few years made that easy to understand. From the precise footwork to the perfect geometry of her arms, her dance puts on display her mastery over her art. With an additional dimension in her relation to the music, again close to perfect but without drawing attention to it. No obvious call and response, just a balance between match and counterpoint that was a part of the whole. Always smooth and seamless, but most impressive because of this lack of showboating. That also something I appreciated in the expressive parts. I don’t like these much, but she avoided the over the top mimics I find so annoying — though I’ve been told this toning down is in part to appeal to ignorant audiences like me.

A bit too much of the expressive side in my opinion, so it’s no surprise I liked the first and last parts best. That was an impressive show, but I felt that a lot was getting too familiar. I still enjoy it, but I lost some sense of amazement along the way. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the disinterest I now feel toward European classical dance though. One reason is the strong partnership of Indian dance with music and its rhythmic side. Another is its feeling real and connected, the ankle bells and footwork grounding the dance, so unlike the European denial of gravity. So hopefully I’ll remain able to enjoy such masterful displays for a while.


December 1, 2008 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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