Innovative and thought-provoking dance

2009-04-23 00:00

IT takes courage to try something new and, judging by the success of her first ever dance show, it appears that choreographer Varsha Sharma has plenty of that.

Chakraview is one of the most fascinating new dance works I have seen in many years, combining classical Indian dance with contemporary styles.

Sharma, who also performs in the show, took her inspiration from her own feelings about the Mumbai terror attacks, 9/11 and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Those ideas are explored to great effect in a sequence reflecting positive and negative thoughts and another about the lack of religious tolerance in the world.

Adding weight to these sequences were two powerful photo and video montages, one showing the victims of terror and brutal attacks, and another showcasing peacemakers around the world, such as the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and ordinary people with smiling faces.

But it is not a wholly dark show — Sharma’s hopes for a future where people respect each other and live in peace comes through strongly in the closing sequence which is performed to music from Slumdog Millionaire.

Praise must also be given to the music selection and the live performance by percussionist Vishen Kemraj, all of which helps create a truly thought-provoking show.

Critics might want to stress that there were a few moments when the dancers were slightly out of sync but, frankly the enthusiasm of the performers more than made up for these lapses.

Sharma has made a great start to her choreographic career and I hope to see more of her work in the months and years to come.

Estelle Sinkins

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