Memorial Theatre, Victoria University, Wellington

14/10/2007 - 14/10/2007

Production Details

An Inspirational Solo Journey Through Dance
Experience the mastery of this world class performer Vivek Kinra, as he unfolds the mysteries of the Indian classical dance form Bharata-Natyam. This solo performance of Bharatam will take the audience on an inspirational journey through dance.

Following on from the successful dance drama Shree Ram Katha last year, Vivek returns to the pure dance form in the performance of Bharatam. This one off solo performance will not only satisfy and enthral the dance purists, but will also entertain the considerable fan following Vivek has created in Wellington.

Three aspects of the dance BHA-RA-TA (Bhavam, Ragam and Talam) are intertwined in this performance of Bharatam. These relate to BHA – Bhavam, moods and expressions; RA – Ragam melody and music; and TA – Talam rhythmic timings. This is Vivek’s first solo performance in New Zealand since 2001.

“After a time, excellence becomes increasingly difficult to write about, without resorting to familiar superlatives, Kinra presents just such a problem.”
The Dominion, Wellington

“In Kinra’s performance, one gets the impression of the universe dancing along with him. To watch Kinra dance is to become aware of just how much the human body can express and accomplish and the human being can experience and feel.”
The Press, Christchurch

Memorial Theatre
Victoria University

October 14 Sunday 4:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:
$15.00, $22.00, $24.00 & $26.00
Ticketek (04) 384 3840

Vivek Kinra

Dance , Indian classical dance , Solo ,

Masterful show of Indian dance

Review by Jennifer Shennan 17th Oct 2007

This was a stellar performance by Vivek Kinra, well known as a master of the Bharata Natyam art of Indian classical dance. It deals with vast reaches of Hindu mythology, and the oldest narratives and poetry, mostly in Sanskrit. Yet it can express emotional states of characters, in serene bliss or else driven to despair, in as contemporary a reality as you or the person beside you in the audience would recognize.

The rhythmic security of Kinra’s dazzling footwork always exudes confidence, and, with the ringing of scores of ankle bells at every step, slap, stamp and skip, makes familiar music.  In one second flat I become intensely happy at that sound, after five seconds I pretend I am back in India. But in another ten seconds I remember that the power of dance carried across a diaspora is in some way even more exciting in its new destination. All the wonder of travel minus carbon costs. New Zealand owes this artist the highest recognition for his two decades of dancing for us. 

There is a joyful geometry in Kinra’s vertical torso contrasting with the lines of his slowly uplifted arms ( the most beautiful arms of any dancer you’ll see). Held aloft in this way, they tell the truth. His hands articulate hundreds of mudra of celestial sign language, every finger etched in clarity. A leg thrusts out into a lunge of almost alarming depth, then transfers weight across to the other foot like some powerful quadruped moving silently in the night.  

The opening invocatory item has Lord Ganesha removing obstacles, next an urgent narrative is conveyed by Hanuman, in a work choreographed twenty years ago for Kinra by his teacher. How well she knew her pupil.  Several items portraying the grief of a bereft woman are performed with poignant fluidity of gender. Krishna and Radha share their stories of gopis and other understandable distractions.

But it is surely the extended salutation to Lord Shiva, timeless, eternal and pure,  that proves as fine a choreography (Kinra’s own) as you could wish, with slow passages exquisitely sustained. A masterpiece. 

Not quite so assuring was the quality of the theatre’s sound system, with one of its two speakers cutting out for alarmingly long periods of time throughout the evening. It is difficult to know precisely where the problem lies, but an audience’s impression can only be that the amplification system is at fault. One would hope that such a venue, which incidentally charges maximum hireage rates, should be aware of this situation.  I personally could give the dry ice a miss too, but that’s merely a flaw to emphasize the excellence of everything else. Happy Diwali.


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