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A dance revolution

A dance revolution
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Where there is pressure there is folk dance’ - stated the Hofesh Shechter company as they took over the Kamani Auditorium on 9 September. History has shown us, time and again, that out of situations of extreme political and sociological turmoil comes art.

The blues, jazz, the poetry of the likes of Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou - the list goes on. History also predicts that expression, over the years, becomes more physical. Now, there is dance.

I do suppose, in this Cold War era when the world totters on the brink of another full-fledged war - Political Mother comes as a reminder to the grim reality that one either controls or is controlled. But at the end of it all - there’s always art.

Political Mother did two things for us. One it opened our mind and two it showed us how incredibly a stage can be used. We didn’t know that the Kamani auditorium had the potential to offer so much.
The entire performance of 70 minutes kept the full-house glued to the seats and frankly it didn’t even feel that we sat rapt in attention for more than an hour. A one prolonged music piece of sorts with only one song, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, the performance was an intensely cerebral one while making ample accommodations for goose bumps and elevated heartbeats.

‘Political Mother brims with Shechter’s emotional and gritty complexity as an ever more surreal chain of images makes our existence seem more impossible than the events taking place in front of us. A Chinese puzzle of encounters leads to amusing, sad and shocking events that confuse our values and challenge our perceptions of what is normal. It is performed by 10 dancers of the Hofesh Shechter Company and accompanied by Shechter’s cinematic score performed by a band of live musicians.’ explains the Impulse 2 website.

Choreographed by Israel born-London based Hofesh Shechter, Political Mother is based on contemporary dance with a lot of folk influences. Shechter attributes what we see on stage to the folk dances he grew up with in his country. The contemporary strain allowed the choreographer free expression and it resulted in something intensely powerful and beautiful.

The flawless dance performers were joined by musicians on stage and this added to the overall stunning impact of the production. The standing ovation at the end of it all was much deserved.

This performance was a part of British Council’s Impulse 2 programme that will be taking place over September, October and November across the country. The event kicked off with Schechter’s Political Mother and will also be bringing the Scottish Dance Theatre and Avant Garde Dance company to India over the next two months.

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