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The Circle of Dance (Life)

The Circle of Dance (Life)

The Hat Factory, Luton

22 July 2023

Reviewed by Charles Robertson


Photos: Simon Richardson

The Circle of Dance (Life), was a rich, diverse and coherent experience, showcasing dancers at different stages of their lives (and dance lives) from childhood and youth through to maturity. Conceptualised by Sanjeevini Dutta, herself an odissi dancer and teacher, the evening drew on odissi and its mythological narratives, but also brought in a more autobiographical contemporary and kathak piece and a folk dance, to form a thoughtful and varied whole.

‘The Beginning’ was sweet and charming. Life and art crossed as Katie Ryan, dancer and mother, responded to verses from Tagore’s poem with her beloved son (Frankie Yeung). Wendy Lewis’s vocals, beautifully responsive to the mood, brought atmosphere and depth as Gopa Roy spoke the words. The young dancers who performed ‘Kalyan Pallavi with preamble’ articulated the clarity and enthusiasm that a gifted teacher (Parvati Rajamani) imparts. Sheeba Taneja’s ‘Jaye He Jaye’, the first of the mythological pieces, was feeling and refined.

Vipul Bhatti’s piece, ‘By a Thread’, pushing towards modern dance, using contemporary and kathak, was compelling and austere about mental distress. It was quite an intense experience with which to leave the audience, clearly moved by it, before the interval.

The folk dance ‘Danda’, was hugely enjoyable and invigorating, as the multi-generational ensemble performed in their beautiful black and red Odiya outfits. Parvati Rajamani’s lucid interpretation of  ‘Priya Charushile’ was grounded and vigorous, connecting the dancing body with the universal theme.

The concluding piece, Katie Ryan’s ‘Moksha’, danced with grace and feeling, framed by a semi-circle of dancers, left a deeply satisfying sense of completion of the circle, both of dance and of life.




The Programme Notes

Circle of Dance (Life) programme notes p 1

Circle of Dance (Life) programme p 2