Dakshina’s 2013 Dance Place Show

Saturday April 13 at 8 pm
Sunday April 14 at 7 pm

Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company is excited to return to our home theater Dance Place in April 2013. We will be presenting our signature program of classical Indian dance and Modern dance.

The program will open with some of the traditional gems of Bharata Natyam featuring our company dancers Madhvi Venkatesh and Kasi Aysola. Vibrant and musical, the dancers go back and forth between lush storytelling to abstract dances.

The highlight of this year’s show will be our reconstruction of Anna Sokolow’s Magritte, Magritte (1970). The iconic work was Anna Sokolow’s multi-media masterpiece that gave rise to the theatre/dance genre, and is one of the most influential modern dance works ever created. Lorry May, former principal dancer of with Anna Sokolow on whom many works were created will be in residence with the company in March for the reconstruction of this work.

The music includes French songs and selections from Liszt, Satie, and Scriabin and the text used in the work draws on Paul Eluard, Edgar Allan Poe, and John White. Dance, music, and text come together in a work that borders on the line between poignancy, fantasy, and sheer farce. Sokolow who was known for her strong socially themed dances, shows us a warm, witty and down right silly side in this work.

The source of the inspiration
In her biography, Larry Warren writes that, “Anna’s most extraordinary work for the Lyric Theatre was Magritte, Magritte, which was inspired by the paintings of the Belgian surrealist artist. It was with Magritte that Anna most clearly achieved the balance between theater, music, and dance that she had been pursuing with varying degrees of success for many years. In developing her choreography she made full use of the painter’s familiar images, such as a pipe, a candle, a derby hat, an apple, and boots that mysteriously have lower legs growing out of them. With these pictorial ideas and the evocative and haunting poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, John White, and Paul Eluard, she created a surrealistic dance/theater piece that carried Magritte’s images into action.”

Warren continues, “The first vignette, “The Lovers,” was inspired by a painting in which Magritte depicted a couple isolated by their passionate involvement with each other. Their faces are covered by cloth bags tied at the neck. The sexual energy that carries them through a ballroom dance-like duet is breathtaking. The duet, as preserved in the 1971 television filming in Holland, is surely one of the most sensuous Anna ever created.”

About Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism. His work challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.

“It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world. Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery.” -— René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in juxtaposition

Magritte’s work frequently displays a collection of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. It does not “satisfy emotionally”—-when Magritte once was asked about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco.

René Magritte described his paintings as “visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.” Magritte’s constant play with reality and illusion has been attributed to the early death of his mother. Psychoanalysts who have examined bereaved children have said that Magritte’s back and forth play with reality and illusion reflects his “constant shifting back and forth from what he wishes—’mother is alive’—to what he knows—’mother is dead'”. Read more on Magritte on Wikipedia here.

This engagement of Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the generous donors/board members of Dakshina.