June 29, 2012
All forms of Indian Dance are flooding the New York City area including the wildly popular Bollywood films that capture the exotic mash up of Indian rhythms and club beats creating an infectious musical film genre.
A towering figure in modern dance, Pina Bausch plucked a talented Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa and incorporated her into the evening-length piece “Bamboo Blues” inspired by Indian Dance sensibilities.
That’s where many from New York first caught a glimpse of Ms. Shivalingappa ripping up the floor in a solo that mutated effervescently from one shape to another, unfurling like an exotic flower. And so her solo recital at the Joyce Theater was met with some anticipation this summer.
Intent on embracing contemporary moves flecked with Indian dance accents, she embarked on a series of four solos broken up by snippets of film. Although she changed clothes and music, the solos by Ushio Amagatsu, Savitry Nair, and Shivalingappa merged into one larger work. Only the piece choreographed with Pina Bausch, “Solo” expressed a strong personal style. Legs spread, knees bent, pelvis weight shifted forward and back balanced by Shivalingappa’s long arms delicately extended, fingers unfurling like lotus blossoms.
The video by Alexandre Castres shot close-ups of Shivalingappa in traditional garb, her gestures reflected in the water. Perhaps the Narcissus reflection was meant to represent the two faces of Shivalingappa--one rooted in classical Indian dance, the other in contemporary forms--but it read “precious.”
The captivating persona that appeared in Bausch’s production remained uninflected at the Joyce Theater, but with more time, and creative input, Ms. Shivalingappa might still unfurl her inner Gods and Goddesses.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis