Outside it’s a chilly October night but we’ve come somewhere else, somewhere in Northern India, it’s beautiful, everything is saffron, it’s an ancient temple perhaps, there are dancers.
And what dancers they are. Seven of them, stamping choreographer, Aditi Mangaldas’ power onto the stage with bare feet in the Kathak style, spinning beyond the belief of human capability into light and shadow, telling their stories with bends and turns, movement and stillness.
These dancers take turns to capture something very small, precious, a butterfly perhaps but they always lose it, it flies away and evades them. Days come and go, we travel over and again from bright sunshine to cool moonlight, time passes. The lighting by Fabiana Piccioli is a marvel.
Drums beat out the rhythm to be followed, live on stage, taking you with it, hypnotising you. There are whispers of small voices as if from very far away, and song. There is a singer on stage who sits as if he is a Budha comforting a female dancer, grieving for their loss, with great musicality and sensitivity.
Connections are formed between dancers, becoming exciting when love is found. Affecting as lovers cover each other’s eyes with their hands, to stop them seeing. This is the sign that love has been found.
A male and a female dancer make such a connection, share such love, you want it to work for them, there is such a pull tangible between them but they slip apart, lose each other in the crowd. Becoming separate again. There is sadness at that. There is much loneliness and isolation found in this piece.
Yet a stunning connection is made between two female dancers. One covers the other in her glorious hair, the others eyes prevented from seeing again. Same image, different cause. When the dancer clears her lover’s hair away so she can see again, she leaves. Such is love.
The dancing is sharp and strong and delicate as required and the ensemble dancing together is a marvel of movement. It is harder to distinguish a narrative than to enjoy the dancing. Love blinds, departing with the visibility of knowledge. That it has always has been this way and always will.
It is a beautiful and enjoyable show, with stunning dancing.
Review by Marian Kennedy
Celebrated Indian dance maker Aditi Mangaldas infuses the ancient art form of kathak with 21st-century sound, rhythm, and light.
Dancers including Mangaldas are joined by a group of musicians for a startlingly rich and intricate piece that emerges from the depths of the body, exploring its fragility, disintegration and renewal.
Considered a maverick in her country, the choreographer has consistently broken ground with her visionary merging of classic and contemporary Indian dance styles. Unafraid to confront social and present-day concerns, her eloquent and dynamic work is characterised by percussive footwork, narrative gestures and dizzying spins. On Inter_rupted, she collaborates with Fabiana Piccioli, much admired for her striking lighting designs and winner of the Knight of Illumination Award.
Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – Inter_rupted
Thursday 20–Saturday 22 October 2016, Barbican Theatre