Fringe Review – Hindu Temple Dancing

Adelaide Fringe Review – Shakti: Classical Hindu Temple Dancing, 21 March 09

Our closing review for the Adelaide Fringe (and what a festival it has been – kudo’s to all the hardworking organisers), touches on many diverse points, and for me sums up something of what the Fringe is about.

Shakti is a bit of an enigma.

Of combined Indian and Japanese heritage, this dancer represents a fierce alchemical polarity, the yub-yum if you will.  Her performance of Classical Hindu Temple Dancing represents one extreme balanced against another perfomance of hers in the Fringe, an adaption of Oscar Wilde’s play on Judean Princess, Salome, (a performance of which I am now kicking myself over for not seeing).  The latter performance, Salome, projects raw sensuality, human, physically manifested in an earthly domain, grounded.

The Hindu Temple Dance however wears a more conservative veil, seemingly more restrained.  However the energies invoked are in fact no different, no less potent and transformative, just channelled differently – the key difference is that these dances were originally were reserved for the Gods themselves.  There are striking parallels to traditions such as Vodou where there is a saying “You are not praying if you are not moving your feet”.

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Thus we have both an introverted and extroverted expression of creative energy between the two.

She first introduces us to a dance of Welcome to the pantheon of deities, making them receptive to the devotions to be danced in their honour.  This is followed by a dance to Spring – a allegorical Spring however, one that acknowledges new beginnings in all things.  This is followed by dance of Love, of young love yearning and revelling in the excitement.  Lastly is a dance of Liberation, the casting away of those shackles that bind and permission to allow true expression.

Not a bad sequential metaphor for the Adelaide Fringe in my mind.

Shakti’s technique is something to behold, her synchronisation to the frantic Indian beats, her ability to use every articulated appendage seemingly independently, such that her body dances even when she is still.  It is the shift of an eyebrow. The direction of a gaze.  There are a great may things I think that some modern Australian burlesque and other Fringe performers could learn from Shakti to truly introduce the art of story telling into their routines.

Her company, Garage International, is thankfully based in North Adelaide with branches in Toyko and Avignon.  I trust this means that even outside the Fringe that we might be treated to more in the near future.

Jonathan Mar 22nd 2009 09:40 pm Cabaret,Culture,Events,People,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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