Do you like contemporary dance? How about an adaptation of a classic ballet revamped to the 21st century with a brand new score and an entirely different dance choreography? Would that be of interest to you? Then say no more. Akram Kham has provided the solution with his collaborative work with the English National Ballet’s (ENB) artistic director Tamara Rojo.
[Video by Gary Tanner]
In Shobana Jeyasingh’s Bayadère – The Ninth Life there’s always something new to see with every show. Constantly reinventing her work, she follows what is trending at the time. Back in 2015, she translated her own gaze of Marius Petipa’s 1877 ballet La Bayadère with a young man tapping away on his blog about the story of an Indian female temple dancer trapped in a love triangle between her true love Solor and her rival Gamzatti. Now – 2017 – from Manchester’s Lowry to last night’s premiere performance at the Sadler’s Wells, the opening scene has moved on with a young man texting his London based friend from a hotel room in Hyderabad – he updates him on the ballet his girlfriend made him see, which so happened to be La Bayadère.
Bharatanatyam dancer and contemporary choreographer Jeyasingh has conceived an original and thought-provoking vision of Petipa’s classic ballet, which was once performed regularly in the Soviet Union throughout the 20th century. The performance itself is a fusion of new elements of dancing that I have never seen before; a harmonious balance of traditional ballet, modern contemporary moves and a fascinating Asian dance style called Bharatanatyam.
The clever work of a technical and creative team, including video design and production manager Sander Loonen, lighting designer Fabiana Piccioli and set and costume designer Tom Piper, manage to project text conversations and almost hologramesque dancers onto the stage walls. The luminous staging of carefully coordinated lights (hues of dusk red, ice blue and snake-like green), the integration of intriguing jewel light installations and golden mobile frames are another breakthrough – it keeps the notion of the Bayadère new, fresh and unpredictable.
Forget everything you know about acrobatics for a moment and picture this: a male performer and a female performer, dressed in casual t-shirts and jeans, carrying each other and balancing their weight on the other person’s stomach, hands and head. There are no strings attached to support them and none of the formal bows or gestures you would expect to see at a circus show.
Akademi tantalised Hounslow’s local community last Saturday with their multifaceted exploration of Dante’s Paradiso: Man’s Enduring Search for Perfection at Bell Square London, a free festival packed with dance and physical theatre performances. Paradiso is a poignant and highly moving piece of choreography. Following the inspirational conceptualisation of Akademi’s director Mira Kaushik OBE and choreographer Jose Agudo, Akademi instills Dante’s final stage of his narrative poem, written in1308-1321, The Divine Comedy, through a wide-range of contemporary and traditional Indian dance styles.
Summer warmth and longer days have finally arrived in London. This is the time to set up your calendar for an eventful summer filled with outdoor events. If you live in the Hounslow area, known for its all-week diverse and multicultural market stalls, why not take a seat at Bell Square (Hounslow High Street) for FREE to see amazing dance, theatre, acrobatic and circus-inspired performances?
Bell Square London launched in 2014 in the heart of Hounslow to bring performance art to the local community. Residents of Hounslow have returned each year to see exciting, international world-class acts which have toured at prime theatre venues. All first-timers to Bell Square London are welcome, and there is no age restriction. Whether you are a two-year-old or a ninety-year-old, there’s something for all audiences to enjoy!
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