Asian Music and Dance

Towards Dawn

A vibration in an eyebrow is the first phase of a movement initiated by the head. This movement trickles through the entire body to pull the dancer, violently shaking, down to the floor. These first few minutes of Towards Dawn are already incredibly fascinating. Dancer Sayouba Sigué’s impressive control over his body allows him to be able to stir or shake any muscle within it.

Feeling like you do not belong, you are unloved or unsafe, can all be reasons for you to indulge in the comforts of consumerism, addictions or a virtual life. Choreographer Kalpana Raghuraman sees this as escapist behaviour that modern man uses as a strategy for survival. In Towards Dawn she and her dancers avoid these strategies and face fear and pain head-on.

Kalpana Raghuraman, artist in residence at Korzo production house since 2010, opens the New Talents programme at the Holland Dance Festival with Towards Dawn. Raghuraman has a background in bharatanatyam, but mixes this classical form with modern dance. For Towards Dawn she has worked with dancers including Adonis Nebié and Sayouba Sigué from Burkina Faso.

Nebié and Sigué – very different in physique, energy and movement style – each follow their own path during the piece. Sometimes one tries to get closer to the other by pushing his head in the other one’s knee, or literally clinging to the other and being dragged around. Only a few times do Sigué and Nebié actually come together in a synchronous dynamic dancing duet. In Towards Dawn light prevails like it does at dawn, or it drops to the floor as if filtered through a leafy canopy. There is a place for relaxation, high in the air or on a large pillow, but intense dreams also cause the body to be thrown around.

The collaboration choreographer Raghuraman has sought out for this piece is very special. Details of bharatanatyam, such as eye and head movements, combine with modern dance and the earthy nature of African dance in which explosive energy sets the entire body in motion that gives Towards Dawn an extraordinary intensity.

This review was first published at www.theaterkrant.nl



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