Little Big Obstinacies

Centennial Theatre, Auckland Grammar School, Auckland

10/10/2008 - 10/10/2008

Tempo Dance Festival 2008

Production Details

Kanan Deobhakta Dance Company celebrates 26 years of presenting Indian Classical and Contemporary styles of Bharata Natyam and Odissi on Friday 10th October at TEMPO dance festival.  It is a new work titled LITTLE BIG OBSTINACIES composed, performed and danced by Kanan and Pratima Patel.  There is only ONE show. 

LITTLE BIG OBSTINACIES – has gained us nations, power, love but not peace.  A child’s obstinacy is the innocence of which we are reminded.  Lovers’ obstinacies are tender & cruel.  Other obstinacies have lost us the very thing we desired in the first place!  Admiration and love.

Kanan Deobhakta
is a well known performer of Bharata Natyam and Odissi exponent in Auckland.  She has presented the South Indian classical dance form Bharata Natyam and the North Eastern style Odissi to both Auckland and Wellington audiences.  It is the only professional Indian dance company to have performed consistently in Auckland for two and half decades.  Kanan’s other passion now is to compose and produce her own music for her choreography.

10th October, 2008 at 7.30pm
Auckland Grammar School
Mountain Road, Epsom.

Duration:60 minutes
Bookings: Ticketek(09) 307-5000
Tickets: Adults: $25; Group of 10: $20 each

1 hr, no interval

The passing on of knowledge

Review by Dr Linda Ashley 11th Oct 2008

Kanan Deobhakta‘s most recent work, Little Big Obstinacies, follows the legacy of classical dance’s affinity with the meta-issues of the human condition. Love, life, death, power, good, and of course, evil are all woven into the intricacies of the Bharata Natyam story-telling vocabulary.

Opening the show, Deobhakta is joined by her 2006 graduate student Pratima Patel, whose articulate dancing invokes a gracious and graceful gliding of Saraswati Stuti, the Goddess of knowledge. In a prolonged stillness Deobhakta, as goddess, occupies centre stage and embodies the knowledge that is to be passed onto a new born. At one point a flowing, mellifluous walk carries her across the stage.

Deobhakta’s usual incisive dance seems to have been mainly replaced by her accomplished mime and highly expressive dramatic capabilities to tell the traditional stories. The audience appreciate her ability to express a wide range of emotions, change of demeanour and gender in a mercurial manner.

Perhaps influenced by her role of grandmother in real life, the guidance of the younger generation and their little obstinacies is somewhat of a theme in this show. The inevitable appearance of a child Krishna, danced by Patel, marks the appearance of some of the timeless rhythms, forms, lines and kinaesthetics of the Indian classical dance.

Patel is based in London these days, pursuing a career in marketing, but returns to Auckland to perform. She and advanced undergraduate Mandy Rupa Reid act as background chorus repeatedly during Deobhakta’s solos and add a more contemporary vocabulary, some moon crazed antics and a rather realistic feline altercation, as two women who discover they have the same husband!

Another object of this show is the obstinacy and harm that results when power corrupts and madness follows – a common occurrence in many dynasties around the world in recent times. Deobhakta’s solo and the chorus present the audience with a dysfunctional family and a father abandoned to contemplate his fate, imprisoned by his own son. The story tells how each day the usurped king finds some solace in glimpses of the monument dedicated to his wife, the Taj Mahal, as a reflection through one small mirror tile on a minaret near the cell window. However, his obstinacy results in a tragic loss of sight from the intense light rays and he dies with his lost love and life etched in his mind.

This story is told with poignancy and is a reminder that dancing too requires devotion and the ultimate sacrifice is demanded of a dancer’s body when a new generation awaits the passing on of knowledge. Deobhakta’s students have learned well from her guidance and her present acolytes may now light candles on their own stages in the future.


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