Dashanan / Kabeera
- Donald Hutera
- 18 August 2018
A robust and enjoyable Indian dance double-bill
This double-bill from the Lok Chhanda company of Midnapur in West Bengal generates considerable pleasure. Director and choreographer Maitreyee Pahari clearly has a flair for theatricalised movement in a robust style that merges elements of kathak with a semi-classical form called chhau (a martial/tribal/folk dance).
Featuring four flowing-haired women in support of strapping, floppy-haired Nanda Kumar, and set to a pumping sountrack, Kabeera is a quarter-hour in which 'the inner soul' is very much on display. It's a fairly fetching, polished piece of sacred pop.
The meat of the performance, however, is Dashanan, a dramatic, lively and elaborate upending of the myth of Ravana. Traditionally perceived as a villain in the epic poem 'Ramayana,' the character is embodied with fierce energy by the swarthy Rajesh Sai Baba.
Shailja Nalwade and Anasua Mazumdar, clad in contrasting green and orange, are also worth mentioning particularly for the duets in which they seem to be trying to outdo each other with the graceful speed of their spins.
But the entire cast, attractively clad in eye-catchingly colourful costumes, is well-drilled, hard-working and adept. There's a lot to like here, especially if you crave a substantial and authentic dose of South Asian dance.
The Stand's New Town Theatre, until 25 Aug, 3.40pm, £16.50 (£11–14).