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Dancing with Durga

Dancing with Durga

February 20 2014

  • New works of Indian dance mixed with western contemporary styles, and “First Light”
  • A couple of showings in London next week

TWO new dance pieces and a popular performance first unveiled on the banks of the Thames come to the South Bank on Thursday (February 27) and Friday (February 28) next week.

Dance company Akademi will premiere “Detox” and “Forgot Your Password” and recreate “First Light”, a show that was first performed underneath Hungerford Bridge in 2012 (pictured above).

“It’s easier to take a piece inside than it is to take it outside,” Monique Deletant Bell, Akademi administrative director told

“When the piece is performed outside, you have to consider the ground – there may be a dance floor but it is not sprung and there is the noise from the surroundings, this was incorporated.”

Described as a “fusion of performance and light”, the piece is choreographed by Seeta Patel, a Bharatanatyam specialist.

Inspired by the Hindu goddess Durga, and her nine incarnations, the show performed by three dancers, works through a range of colours, and scintillates through “an interplay of dance, music, light and space”.

“It is very beautiful,” said Deletant Bell. “It’s an opportunity to see amazing dancers who have previously worked with Shobana Jeyasingh – it was really beautiful and which is why are bringing it back again.”

The company has not worked out the precise order of the show at the time of this story but “First Light” will either be at the end or the beginning. In between will be “Detox” and “Forgot Your Password.”

For “Detox”, there are four dancers, and choreographed by Urja Desai Thakore, this performance combines Kathak with a more contemporary dance idiom.

In “Forgot Your Password” – a mediation on technology and reality – Divya Kasturi, brings Bharatanatyam and Kathak together with a contemporary dance aesthetic to produce something original and different.

“It’s haunting,” said Deletant Bell.

Both new pieces are part of Akademi’s “Choreogata” programme and are explorations of a continuing conversation between the classical and the contemporary.

Billed as “First Light and Choreogata”, Akademi has supported choreographers fusing either the classical dance traditions of India in Kathak, from North India, with modern moves, or Bharatanatyam, from the South, with a modern European dance style. Sometimes there are elements of all three styles to form a fusion that is also very British in some respects.

Referring to the three performances on the evening, Deletant Bell said: “This was really Mira Kaushik’s (Akademi director) vision and she was the driving force behind it.

“We do a lot of performance work and we are known for our outdoor work, but we work indoors as well.”

She feels there has been a recent rise in the popularity of dance ad widening interest.

“Dance is one of the most popular art and entertainment forms, if you consider things like the success of “Strictly Come Dancing” and the number of people who do dancing and take it up in later life.

“It is such a brilliant way of keeping fit and of having social time. Interest has widened, so it is important it remains on the school curriculum and that funding continues for it, because it ticks so many boxes, apart from the enjoyment obviously.”

Picture: ®Vipul Sangoi

  •  First Light”, “Detox” and “Forgot Your Password”, 7.45pm, February 27 & 28, Purcell Room, South Bank, SE1.


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Written by Asian Culture Vulture