Skal and Silent Space

Dance Base

5 – 14 Aug | 13.00
65 mins | U
£12 (£10 conc)

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Pontus Linder and Olov Ylinenpaa bring their immense break dancing and modern dance skills to this well thought out production; which looks at the male macho culture within hip hop.  Hip Hop and break dancing came about in the 70’s in New York’s Bronx and has taken off globally not just as dance and music but a whole lifestyle and identity.  This production offers highly accomplished movements with effortless power moves, whirring windmills, funky top rock, down rock and freezes that truly delight.  Partnered moves are also cleverly choreographed, displaying the strength and ability of these two dancers.

However it is not just a show of break dancing ability, the production goes further to consider aspects of hip hop culture not generally expressed such as fragility and intimacy and the element of play between the dancers.  Through dance these emotions are expressed and the audience are drawn into their world of expectations, and break battling, where the dancer with the most technical moves wins the battle.  This is personified during the machine room sounds where they dance a ‘hunters walk’ depicting always being prepared to battle, which is a big part of the break dance street scene.

They bring in some other stage touches such as a lava lamp projected onto a screen; suitcases and mats to signify the travelling life of dancers, using an electric razor on the carpet and a diy drill had the audience thinking.  The music also deserves a mention as it is not typical hip hop music.  The cool and funky tunes and carefully crafted choreography make this an interesting and enjoyable performance that I would highly recommend.

Scotland’s Indian dance company Ihayami, formed by Priya Shrikumar, bring this production to life looking at dance in the presence and absence of sound.  The dancers are all trained in traditional Indian dance, most notably Bharatnatyam, a 2 thousand year old dance tradition which was believed to have been revealed by Lord Brahma to Bharata, a famous sage.  This form of dance and ritual flourished in south indian temples to entertain gods and goddesses.

With a cast of 5 dancers, several of whom are from Scotland, the complexities and subtleties of this dance form are joyfully expressed.  With expressive movement of their hands known as ‘mudras’, which are a language of expression, and depiction of different emotions. In addition it is believed that mudras enhance the spiritual and physical wellbeing of those who practice them.  We need only look at hindu and buddhist imagery to see these mudras being practised.

The dancers are splendidly dressed in traditional Indian dress and dance to Shostakovich’s String Quartet in C Minor; the silent dances where the dance movements are emphasized; a solo flute performance by Marion Kenny, with a chant like voice by one of the cast and Poori Thillanam a traditional Indian song.

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of dance, especially the mastery of Priya Shrikumar.  Assuming that the audience have little or no knowledge of traditional Indian dance, it would perhaps have benefited from an introduction to this form of dance.  However the quality of dance was excellent and great to see that this form of dance is thriving in Scotland.

Reviewer : Sophie Younger

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