28 August, 2011

Review: Sriyah

Photo: Sonia Manchanda
By Mateusz Jażdżewski

I have to be honest; I am not an expert in Indian dance or culture so I can only judge it with my intuition and senses. Śriyah performed by The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble was a spell-binding, colourful show however I struggled at points to make out what it was all about.

The group from India seemed to have taken into consideration that European audiences are not used to their style. Each piece is introduced with a brief explanation of what is going to happen on stage, so the audience gets to know about the Indian traditions and types of classical dance demonstrated. One of the most distinctive dance forms is Odissi. Originating from the Eastern border of India, it was traditionally performed by young women in temples as an act of worship.

The Odissi repertoire consists of various pieces, all of which have a special importance. The movements comprising each piece centre on the Tribhangi stance, meaning independent movement of the head, chest and pelvis. The body is formed into an ‘S’ shape, which creates a sense of balance as the dance is performed. On stage, it looks like ancient temple sculptures have come to life.

Although during the performance the artists explained the different dance forms and the meaning of their movements, I didn’t fully appreciate the show. The dance, music and intimate lighting created an enjoyable spectacle, but it wasn’t sufficient enough to absorb me into their world.

Friday 26 – Monday 29 August
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Book tickets at eif.co.uk/sriyah.

The Edinburgh International Festival runs from 12 August – 4 September. Browse and book online at eif.co.uk or call 0131 473 2000.

No comments: