Sunday, April 17, 2011

Indian Turn

Performing at Theatre Project, the Dakshina/ Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company offered an invigorating program of classical Indian and contemporary dances.

Somewhat surprisingly, the highlight of the everning were two contemporary Western works. In Kaddish, accompanied by the music of Ravel, Melissa Greco Liu gave a beautifully expressive interpretation of a woman racked by desire, solitude, and grief. Cleverly using spotlight and blackouts, By the Light employs Beethoven's music to ground the desires, absences, and reconciliations of an elusive romantic couple. Supported by Jamal Ari Black, Natalie Pinzon ably expressed the fluctuating emotions of the piece.

Choreographed by troupe leader Daniel Phoenix Singh, the more distinctively Indian dances seemed less secure. The opening invocation, Pushpanjali revealed the uneveness of troupe members' technique. The closing piece, Vasanth is an exercise in narrative ballet based on a tale of Shiva and the rebirth of the seasons. The joyous piece uses traditional Indian dance, mime, ballet, contemporary dance, and even a bit of Broadway chorus line to evoke the Hindu myth. But in this fusion of disparate dance traditions, one has the impression that the mixture of approaches has yet to gel into a coherent overall style. In his solo piece, Gokula Nilaya, Singh revealed his own mastery of technique in his supple, lyrical movements.

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