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George Jackson reviews Dakshina’s Artisphere performance

Copyright George Jackson
Excerpt from a review on several dance events.
Full review is available at danceviewtimes.com.

Dakshina, The Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, brought its dramatic signature work “Vasanth” and three mood pieces to the new (10/10/2010) Artisphere. “Vasanth” tells of the death and rebirth of Love and of Spring’s return to this world. It has runs for the corps that swirl swiftly about the stage, pantomimic action with a poignant appeal, sensuality plus a feast of joyous foot patter. A mixed cast of familiar and new performers (including Graham Pitts as Love, Shailaja Maru as Spring, Singh as the entranced/awakened great god Shiva, Madhvi Venkatesh as Desire, and Stacey Yvonne Claytor as Shiva’s consort) gave a very fresh performance of Singh’s melding of Indiadance, modern dance and ballet.

The three other works went well together. One was a thoughtful love dance for two men, “Since You’ve Asked” by Singh. He and Jamal Ari Black gave it nobility. In “By the Light…”, the late Eric Hampton visualized Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” as a woman’s solo of sorrow. She looks up into the light of the moon, she leans back in the moonbeams as if to remember, she grieves and, briefly, succeeds in conjuring up her lost love. This is a solo more than it is a duo, one of intensity and utter simplicity. Natalia Pinzon honed it to perfection. As her ghostly partner, Black was present for an instant and then not. The last formal piece on the program, Ludovic Jolivet’s “Voy y Vengo”, is for 6 dancers (only 5 were listed in the program) seated on roller chairs. Jolivet transformed the people and chairs into a congregation. Its members bowed and straightened, they held up their arms and folded them, they took hold of others’ hands and let go while unobtrusively pedaling their chairs over and around the stage space. They moved on smooth paths and in simple formations to music by Franz Schubert, Yann Tiersen and Jolivet himself. This roller dance could have been shorter but by no means was it a gimmick. Concluding the program was a dance party in Artisphere’s ballroom . (December 11, 2011 in the Black Box Theater of Arlington, Virginia’s Artisphere.)