Dancing Through Paradise

Indian Char Bagh Garden, Hamilton

20/02/2010 - 22/02/2010

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2010

Production Details

Dancing through paradise transforms the exotic, intimate setting of the Indian Char Bagh Garden into a live aesthetic experience.

The dance draws inspiration from the visual blaze of the flowering gardens, sparkling water
fountains, and yoga practices. Performed with Emma Goldsworthy, Patti Mitchley and Alex Hitchmough.

You are all invited to attend these FREE performances during the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival at:
11am & 6pm Sat 20th Feb
11am & 6pm Sun 21st Feb
6pm Mon 22nd Feb

Seating is provided but you may wish to bring a cushion & sunglasses.

Experiencing the magic of dance and garden

Review by Sue Cheesman 25th Feb 2010

On a balmy Hamilton evening, audience members both young and old file into the Indian Char Bagh Garden to see Dancing through Paradise, choreographed by Karen Barbour, as part of the annual Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

As we enter the garden four dancers around the perimeter are holding familiar yoga positions and much to the audiences delight we witness children copying the dancers’ shapes like ‘mini mes’. I notice that half the garden is bathed in sunlight with square blocks of mainly bright yellow flowers standing tall.

This Indian inspired walled garden has strong symmetrical architecture enabling Karen to effectively use straight lines as dominant pathways to traverse the space. Yoga postures permeate the contemporary movements with variations on the familiar such as: salute to the sun, tree pose and down dog. 

The choreography includes performing an extended sequence of movements in several different formations and places in the garden. The dancers effortlessly sustain balancing on one leg; encapsulating an inner strength to be envied. Striking shapes made against the white walls create the illusion of friezes. 

This piece has an understated atmosphere in keeping with a meditative ambience often encouraged within yoga practices. The music chosen is laid back jazz which for me neither supports nor hindered the dance. I am only aware of the music momentarily when it changes tracks or the odd time it increases in volume. 

The dance concludes with an opportunity for the audience to join the dancers in a final ‘salute to inner calm’: a fitting way to complete an aesthetically pleasing experience.

Karen Barbour has created several site-specific garden pieces over the years. She seems very skilled at making work that is accessible to a wide range of audience members and embraces the particular features and characteristics of the garden she is working in. Placing this work in the Indian Garden allows the viewer to experience the magic of both the dance and the garden simultaneously. 
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