FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE
19/10/2014 - 19/10/2014
Bharatanatyam finds its roots in the temples of Southern India and derives its name from the elements Bhava (expression), Raga (melody) and Thala (rhythm). It is these modes the dancers wield to present a production with its roots in the heritage of both Eastern and Western cultures.
Yatra (meaning journey) are a group of dancers who have learnt Bharatanatyam both in India and New Zealand, and have come together out of a common passion for the art form. In a venture to share this with a wider audience, they bring to you For the Love of Dance, which pushes the envelope through fusion music, lighting and narrative while remaining true to tradition and discipline in the choreography of the dance itself.
Romeo and Juliet
Our first item for the night portrays the forbidden love that is Romeo and Juliet. We start the scene at the masquerade ball hosted by the Capulet’s House, where a masked Romeo enter’s. Romeo locks eyes with Juliet and the two instantly fall in love.
When he finds out that she is the daughter of Capulet—his family’s enemy—he becomes distraught. When Juliet learns that the young man she has just kissed is the son of Montague, she grows equally upset.
As they leave the ball Romeo leaps over the orchard wall into the garden, unable to leave Juliet behind. From his hiding place, he sees Juliet in a window above the orchard and hears her speak his name. He calls out to her, and they exchange vows of love…and with that we leave the story…as we all know what tragic end is waiting for these star crossed lovers. \\\
The next item is a depiction of Shakespeare’s famous Macbeth. We enact the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, as we show you the intense emotions and parallels that form the bond between them. In this item, Lady Macbeth, a bold and ambitious lady, tries to persuade Macbeth to become King, which only is possible by murdering the current king. In contrast to Lady Macbeth, Macbeth has a wavering character. Albeit a brave warrior, he is filled with self-doubt, making him fearful and conflicted about following his wife’s intent With Lady Macbeth as the pillar of strength and confidence in Macbeth, he overcomes his worries and builds the courage to carry out the deed, allowing him to become King and Lady Macbeth, his Queen. As they plan the murder we see them operate synchronously, driven by obsession, excitement and passion. However, shortly after the murder, we see a reversal of roles and a loss of unison between them. Lady Macbeth is haunted by guilt and appears to lose control of the situation, her once powerful character now weakened. On the other hand, Macbeth becomes more independent, overly ambitious and violent. With both characters emotionally disconnected from each other, we see them spiral independently out of control. Their love is their hope, their victory and eventually their death.
Taming of the Shrew
Our next item is a loose interpretation of Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew. Shakespeare’s tale has inspired us to translate his story of Petruchio’s taming of Katherina, the shrew, into a modern day 2014 love story.
This item will depict Petruchio, an over-confident, playful, mischievous young man who lays eyes on the beautiful, but ill-tempered and arrogant Katherina. Petruchio attempts at wooing and teasing Katherina by showering her with attention and compliments, but to no avail as the arrogant Katherina looks at him with utter disdain and disgust. Realising that another tactic might work better, Petruchio changes his plan and deserts Katherina. He then watches as the roles reverse and Katherina slowly drops her arrogance and unknowingly allows her curiosity to slowly lead her into the arms of Petruchio as they are united as one.
Up next we have a tale of love infused with jealousy. Othello a military moor loves his wife Desdemona. The fought many battles to be together. Our story is about their greatest challenge. Iago, Othello’s advisor plots against him to rob him of all his fortunes. He advises Michael Cassio, who recently lost his job as Othello’s lieutenant to seek Desdemona’s help. He then manipulates their every move to make Othello believe Desdemona is being unfaithful. Iago uses Desdemona’s napkin, a token of love given by Othello to sway Othello’s trust. He steals it and places it in Cassio’s care. Othello is convinced of their affair and is furious. In this next item, the napkin is used as symbolism for the jealousy that binds Othello making him unable to see clearly, think clearly and act appropriately. Ladies and gentlemen, watch as this napkin, the jealousy, begins to consume him. Will he fight it or embrace it?
Mid Summer Nights Dream
A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy showcases the fickle nature of love and pokes fun at the torments of those in-love. Hermia is in love with Lysander, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius who he thinks is a better suitor. Disobeying her father’s will, Hermia and Lysander elope into the woods.
On hearing this Demetrius follows them into the woods and is pursued by Helena, who nurses an unrequited passion for him. Demetrius rejects Helena’s declarations of love and tries to escape her pursuit.
Upon watching Demetrius’ denouncement of Helena, Oberon the King of the Fairies, orders his trusted mischief-maker, Puck, to find the flower that Cupid’s arrow had charmed and to spread its magical nectar on the eyelids of Demetrius so that he falls in love with Helena.
Mistakenly Puck sprinkles the love nectar on the sleeping Lysander, who on seeing Helena instantly falls head over heels in love with her.
Oberon comes to realise that Demetrius is still following Hermia and becomes enraged that Puck has charmed the wrong Athenian. He sends Puck to correct his error and charm Demetrius’ eyes.
Now, both men are madly in love with Helena. Offended by the advances of her two suitors Helena is convinced the two are mocking her as neither of them had loved her at the outset.
To prove whose love for Helena is the greatest, Lysander and Demetrius storm away to duel.
Puck spreads the antidote on Lysander’s eyelids and by morning all is well between the Athenians. Demetrius loves Helena, and Lysander now loves Hermia. Balance is restored.
Lady Macbeth—Nikita Patel
Ahalya Sathiyaselvan—Juliet & Katharina
Ramya Balachandran—Lady Macbeth
Aftab Moosa—Othello & Oberon
Special thanks to:
Aamir Kapasi , Avelin Chetty, Nikhil Lohar,
Gokul Gnaneswaran & Pratheepan Gunathas
A world of love with bells and character finesse
Review by Kerry Wallis 22nd Oct 2014
We are instantly drawn into the world of love when “For the Love of Dance” begins. Incorporated within the entire production is the use of AV and voiceover. Images of rose petals and a heart fill the screen as we hear that ‘Love is passion. Love is forbidden. Love is power, ego, jealousy.’ What are the faces of love? This is what we will experience tonight through the expertise of Bharathnatyam and Shakespeare.
The show is broken up into five Shakespearean works – Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Othello and A Mid-Summer Nights’ Dream. At the beginning of each new dance the AV shows the title of the work and the voice over by talent, Bhavan Srikumar, describes the part in the story where we meet the lovers.
In the first work, Romeo and Juliet, Amuthini Prasanna and Gopika Gnanakumar enter the stage in a beautiful fusion of cultures as they were traditional dress but show us the Shakespearean world by holding masks. AV shows different scenes within the dance and for a moment each individual character has an internal monologue expressed by voiceover talent in a spotlight. Both dancers are highly expressive and dance well together and when they have solo material. A strong duet with both dancers using the stage well.
The second work, Macbeth, displays the dance talents of Ramya Balachandran and Nikita Patel. Opera music is incorporated into the sound score and both are incredibly strong performers. Both are clearly good at acting as well as their facial expressions show character well when they have individual monologue moments. Music is a strong captivator in this piece as well as the use of red lighting to mark the dark and sinister undertones of the Macbeth story.
In the first and second works, females have played both female and male characters, however in the third piece, The Taming of the Shrew we see our first male/female duet with Ravichandra Bedadala and Parvathy Krishna. The chemistry between these two characters is clearly portrayed by the performers with their use of facial expressions and acting skills as well as dynamic dancing. The ‘4th wall’ is broken by Krishna when we are asked if we have seen her love. AV is effective when we see the backdrop change to a happy field with hot air balloons in the sky and dandelions once the two characters are united in love.
In the first group dance we see, Othello showcases four performers. The handkerchief is used as a symbol of love and jealousy and in this piece it is shown on the AV. The dancers; Anuradha Sureshchandra, Vindhyavasini Sureshchandra, Ravynah Sukumaran and Anna George dance well together in group work and powerful duets. The music in this piece is very powerful and works well with the choreography.
The last work in the show is A Mid-Summer Nights’ Dream and this is broken up into three sections. Part one introduces all four characters powerfully through the use of solo work and duets. The performers; Vaishnaavi Gnanasampanthan, Ahalya Sathiyaselvan, Suvina Sewnarain and Kamshika Umasuthan are all beautiful performers and use the most beautiful and intricate hand gestures (as do the rest of the cast). Another character (Puck) is introduced, performed by Aman Bajaj and playfulness exudes from every movement he does. The manipulated voiceover of Oberon is perhaps a little too strong in this work and seems too distorted for the world of love.
To end the show a grand finale is danced by all performers involved so we can revisit the lovers we have seen throughout the show. We have come full circle and the show has definitely been a celebration of love, filled with bells and character finesse.
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