Anand : Joy in Motion

Memorial Theatre, Victoria University, Wellington

30/07/2009 - 02/08/2009

Production Details

Anand : Joy in Motion

A scintillating dance experience celebrating Vivek Kinra’s successful twenty years of performance in New Zealand, Anand : Joy in Motion promises to be a joyous event that transcends cultural boundaries to be enjoyed by all.

This grand performance of Anand showcases Kinra’s acclaimed choreographic gems and features the mesmerizing dance drama Shiva Geeti Mala. He is joined by a large cast of 30 talented dancers of the Mudra Dance Company.

The first half of this performance will feature a glorious retrospect from Kinra’s past performances. These dances are a kaleidoscope of motion, colour, music, mime and rhythm ranging from the abstract "Darpana", a reflection in movement, to the depiction of Lord Shiva as "Ardhanaree", a form where he is a perfect balance of masculine vigour and feminine grace.

The second half will feature a reworked version of the wonderful dance drama Shiva Geeti Mala originally created in 1996. Shiva Geeti Mala enacts a 200 year old love poem between Shiva, the cosmic dancer and Parvati, the beautiful daughter of the Himalayan mountains. This analogy expresses the complexities of human and divine love through this classic poem.

Memorial Theatre, Victoria University
Thursday, 30th July – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, 31st July – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, 1st August – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 2nd August – 4:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:
Waged $32
Unwaged $28  
Group (6 +) $26
Students $18 



Sparkling feet, precise rhythyms, delightful clarity

Review by Lyne Pringle 09th Aug 2009

Vivek Kinra welcomes us wholeheartedly at the beginning of this programme Anand Joy in Motion which celebrates two decades of performance and residence in New Zealand – in that time he has transformed the cultural landscape of Wellington and New Zealand by meticulously presenting the exquisitely intricate classical Indian dance form of Bharata-Natyam. He tells us that this ancient dance tradition transcends time, its evocations fill the world with love; I celebrate his tenacity and artistry in pursuit of such noble ideals. His dance is an act of devotion and the Mudra Dance Company his disciples.

At the beginning of the evening Vivek Kinra portrays and explains the mudra’s (ancient story telling hand gestures) for the dances we are about to see, it is a riveting performance in itself and provides us with a window into the complexities of the Hindu religion.

The dancers of the Mudra Dance Company, all graduates of Kinra’s New Zealand Academy of Bharata-Natyam – some have attended for as long as 10 years – sparkle like the jewels in their costumes as they move like dancing flames. They are a living testament to Kinra’s teaching and devotion to the form; he has not only taught these young women to dance he has helped to shape their lives – their academic and work records mostly in the field of science are exemplary.

The evening begins with Natesha Kautuvam from younger members of the school. They are gorgeous and vibrant in their commitment to the dance and each other, as they present a precise and complicated unison piece; not an easy feat to accomplish.

Vivek Kinra, who has received many deserved accolades for his dancing over the last 20 years, is now a mature dancer and he continues to dance with inspired grace and precision.

When his arms open there is an expansiveness that is breathtaking and when his feet strike the earth he invokes the Supreme Being Nataraja who dances the universe into existence.

In the first half of the programme he dances a solo Ardhanareeshwara convincingly portraying the half-man half-woman form of Lord Shiva, which symbolizes the cosmic forces of creation. In Hindu philosophy it is believed that the sacred ultimate power of the universe comes from a union between the feminine and masculine. Tears well in my eyes during this dance, I am moved by the exquisite beauty. The final image of the traditional Shiva pose is so beautifully lit and sculpted by the dancer that it is like seeing a moment of stunning transcendent perfection – lucky audience!

Throughout the evening Glenn Ashworth’s fantastic lighting makes full use of the opportunities the Memorial Theatre provides to illuminate the dancing in a way that enhances the auras of bodies on stage. The dancers are immaculately costumed throughout.

Floating in on the notes of an ethereal flute the senior girls who form the Mudra Company dance, joyously and convincingly, the devotees of Lord Subrahmanyam in Ennenna Vilaiyadalmma. Their faces shine with rapt pleasure, their feet sparkle with precise rhythms and their expressive bodies portray the story with delightful clarity. Once again there is an immense sense of satisfaction in watching the dancers move in unison.

Kinra dances with the company in Dapana: Reflections which uses traditional elements innovatively by placing the dancers unconventionally on the stage in counterpoint to each other spatially; it is based on a traditional Tillana foundation.

The second half of the evening, Shiva Geeti Mala to music composed by Ranjani Ganesan Ramesh (also assistant choreographer) is a love story between the celestial couple Shiva (Kinra) and Parvarti (Shrividya Ravi).

Kinra dances with the exuberance and precision that the role of Shiva demands and Ravi brings a quiet grace to her role as his consort. They have a great empathy on stage and manage to conjure an alluring and complex tale.  Shiva has to pursue Parvati, the daughter of the Himalyas, into the forest after she discovers him cavorting with heavenly celestial nymphs. 

There is a series of scenes in which the two leads are supported by Anjali Pande in striking form as Nandi and Ashleen Deepika as the devoted and lyrical Sakhi; the rest of the Mudra company dance beautifully as the apsaras. 

In scene three Ravi expresses her deep yearning for her beloved, it is difficult to imagine how any other art form could capture this kind of human emotion so perfectly and it is highly admirable that this young woman taught by Kinra has the skill to embody the technique so fully.

Kinra’s majestic Shiva eventually persuades Parvarti to reunite with him and restore cosmic order. In the final scene all dance together in a joyous fashion celebrating the union and we the audience celebrate the vitality of this rich, complex, elegant sensuous and immensely satisfying culture.

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 



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Always a joy to behold

Review by Jennifer Shennan 08th Aug 2009

Anand, means Joy and is a particularly well chosen title for this celebratory season marking 20 years since Vivek Kinra began teaching classical Indian dance in Wellington.

The hallmark standard of Mudra’s performance is always high because the discipline required in class and rehearsal is embraced rather than endured, and the dancers are thereby liberated to enjoy their performing, which is in turn infectious for the audience.

The panoply of colours in their costumes  – emerald, turquoise, sapphire, ruby, magenta, gold – enhance the appearance of these already strikingly beautiful people. If that’s a racist remark, I stand by it.

Kinra’s own performing remains centre-stage and his dancers, clearly inspired by the opportunity to share the stage, have matured into confident and expressive performers.  Kinra himself is dancing in an enriched way that keeps all the technical command, control and stamina of a man half his age, but now also has all the subtle adagio, contrast of light and shade, and rich depth of experience that proves quite staggeringly beautiful.   Joy. Anand.

I could describe the thrilling thillana, in triumphant 6 bar phrases, that would give you courage if you needed it, but that would take three times the space allotted to a review. Let the record state that this calibre of performance will continue to resonate for a long time yet.

These annual seasons, as well as numerous arengetram / graduation recitals of senior students, are always held at the VUW Memorial Theatre. 

Is it not time, after 20 years, for the advisory board of Mudra to suggest that VUW now grant the courtesy of free use of the theatre.

With the considerable rental saved, Vivek could purchase for his students the resources of books and DVDs of Indian dance and theatre arts for the further extension of their studies at the tertiary level that they are clearly capable of and entitled to. And they might also propose that Vivek be awarded an honour to recognize his enormous contribution to the cultural and artistic life of the Wellington community. He already holds that in my book, but let’s hope our Governor General noticed this dance season that shares his name.

Twenty years ago, refreshments in the interval of a Mudra performance used to be Coke and crisps. Now it’s idli, pakora and barfi, chai and mango lassi.  Need I say more?
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 




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