Poetry editors around the world would turn green with envy if they knew about the current multimedia performance by Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company. In an era that gives short shrift to such literary writing, “Mortal Tongues, Immortal Stories” is a moving showcase for some powerful verse. After leaving the theater, audience members may want to improve their acquaintance with the stanzas featured in the modern-dance and spoken-word production, which ponders the themes of love, loss, fear, passion and zest for life. Read Celia Wren‘s full review here.
Forget-me-nots are small but persistent flowers. Daniel Phoenix Singh planted a field of them in his new “Mortal Tongues, Immortal Stories”, a dance in memory of the poetry and poets of AIDS. It was a terrible time in history and not that long ago when the epidemic first hit. Read George Jackson‘s (dancviewtimes.com) full review here.
The woman’s face was like a canvas on which she could conjure any emotion, any expression, any state humanly possible…Krishna, a strong and youngish man, has a plushly padded, rhythmic walk. He uses port de bras to draw clear shapes in space. These images – incisive lines, pristine forms – seem to hang in the air, lingering after he himself has shot on. Read the full danceviewtimes.com George Jackson review here.
The late choreographer Anna Sokolow was a master of minimalism, consistently taking the sparest and most ordinary of movements and wringing from them dances that are rich in drama and feeling. The simple, accessible nature of the steps is what makes many of her works land like a punch to the gut: The pain and darkness that haunt these characters could befall any one of us. Read Washington Post’s full review here.
Difficult Pairings: The consolation, the culmination that two people can find when they come together is often the topic of dance works. Anna Sokolow’s individuals, though, never have it easy. They always seem unsatisfied and appear to be seeking something more than one another…Thanks to Lorry May’s staging and the Dakshina company’s astute casting, the imprints of Sokolow’s diverse figures continued to linger long after Dance Place’s new doors had closed for the night. Read full Danceviewtimes.com review by George Jackson here.
Pamela Squires writes, “In only 10 years, the annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts has become a Washington area mainstay. The festival’s dynamic program Friday at Sidney Harman Hall demonstrated that this first-rate festival is mature for its years, yet still young enough to bristle with bright promise. It is a heady combination.” Read full Washington Post review. September 22, 2013.
Venture capitalist, angel investor, philanthropist and arts patron Ranvir Trehan and his wife Adarsh hosted the 10th anniversary launch of the Washington, DC-based Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company at their elegant McLean, Virginia, home. More than 100 art lovers and patrons were treated to a scintillating performance by Leela Samson and Bragha Bessell, and Samson’s dance company Spanda. Read the full article here: India Abroad 2013 Feature on Dakshina
Sarah Kaufman, the Pulitzer price winning chief critic at the Washington Post writes: “It’s fitting that Singh, whose fascination with Sokolow has led to excellent productions of her works over the years, chose to present this gem. The weekend performances, with sharp new costumes by Judith Hansen, were a homecoming of sorts, as the work premiered in 1970 at Towson University in Towson, Md. Lorry May, who danced with Sokolow for more than 30 years, staged the work for Singh’s company.” Read full Washington Post review here. April 15, 2013.
Daniel Phoenix Singh did an interview with the National Endowment for the Arts. In it, he writes, “Art is the nexus where all the different aspects of my life—as a gay man, a South Asian, a first-generation immigrant, a person of color, a little bit of a tech nerd, and now a U.S. citizen—all come together.” Read the full interview here.
Sarah Kaufman, the Pulitzer price winning chief critic at the Washington Post writes: “Few dance artists have practiced the creativity of subtraction as successfully as Anna Sokolow. The power in her works from the mid-20th century stems from a mix of space, absence, anticipation — and the sudden move that changes everything…Thanks to Singh’s efforts, and the staging by former Sokolow dancer Lorry May, we’ve seen a good handful of Sokolow pieces on local stages. Although they have all offered a testimonial to the aesthetics of simplicity, none delivers it more pungently than Lyric Suite.” Read full review here. April 29, 2012.
Rachel Turner describes a moment in Vasanth: “Instead of using obvious close, passionate embraces, Shiva stands behind Parvati and holds her hands, one over her heart and the other over her womb, in a very formal way. The formality of the gesture combined with the passion in the dancers’ faces created an extremely intimate atmosphere that I found more powerful than obvious intimacy through touch.” Read the full review here. April 11, 2012.
Ruth Grauert writes, “Since You’ve Asked (2009, Singh), a duet, quiet and well choreographed, performed by the choreographers, was an elegant, quiet duet for two men, exploring their relationship. The motion, sometimes gesture, sometimes found motion, seemed never to be just an “old dance step” done because they could do it, but rather done because it furthered the presentation of that relationship.” Read the full review here. March 24, 2012.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa writes “…the evening’s crown belongs to Symbiosis–a palpably tender, occasionally playful duet in the sensuous Odissi tradition and shared by Sikand and Singh.” Read full review here. March 24, 2012
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. George Jackson’s review in DanceViewTimes.com. December 13, 2011.
The legendary Bharatanatyam exponent Leela Samson and her Kalakshetra Repertory Company danced so well Saturday at the Lincoln Theatre — in the concluding performance of the Fall Festival of Indian Arts — that the ultimate standing ovation was richly deserved. Pamela Kidron Review in the Washington Post, October 10, 2011.
Her [Leela Samson’s] dancing has been an alloy of flesh, velvet and willpower since I’ve known it and this time she had to will her body to obey more emphatically than before. Obey it did and her marvelous balances lasted untremored. With one leg raised at an angle in front and the clearly articulated arms floating, Samson’s right index finger was poised in expectation as the light on her faded – undoubtedly it was eternity for which she was waiting. George Jackson’s review of the Fall Festival in Danceviewtimes.com, October 8, 2011.
Daniel Phoenix Singh was featured on National Public Radio’s Tell Me More program, with host Michel Martin on Wednesday October 5th. You can download and listen to the podcast to get an inside look into the curating process of our signature Fall Festival of Indian Arts.
With a cast of just 9 (and sometimes fewer), Sokolow is able to launch an irresistible pulse, an effect for which other choreographers require massive forces. She is equally adept in using the dancers as individuals…No question that Singh, as Dakshina’s artistic director, makes daring choices across the technical and stylistic divides of modern dance, India dance and ballet…That his gambles often pay off is likely due to his meticulous rehearsal staff – Karen Bernstein and Harriet Moncure Williams. If only the directors of our big dance companies had a bit more Diaghilev in their drawers. George Jackson review in Danceviewtimes July 9, 2011.
The dancers then take a breath and plunge into “reconstructions” of Sokolow’s Frida, that moved me to tears, based on Kahlo’s paintings, followed by a premiere of the terrifyingly stoical Homage to the surrealist painter David Alfaro Sigueiros. FootlightsDC July 8, 2011
In Singh’s “Vasanth”, a mythological “Rite of Spring”, I think I see most clearly his intentional and his instinctive use of Western movement within an Indian context. George Jackson in Danceviewtimes March 11, 2011
Dakshina is looking good as a company. Its ensembles cohere. It can convey the Mexican sizzle of “Frida” and it triggered the Ausdruckstanz chill of “Dreams”. danceviewtimes November 7, 2010
Only in America: Where else could a young man who grew up in an impoverished, low-caste fundamentalist Christian family in India get a degree in computer science and discover dance? Not just any dance, but …Barata Natyam, which is Hindu-based classical Indian dance — at once a discovery of his cultural heritage and a departure from his Methodist upbringing. By day, University of Maryland grad Daniel Phoenix Singh, whose passport is stamped “backward class,” is a computer consultant. By night, he runs Dakshina, a company devoted to Indian dance as well as — here’s the newest twist — the dark social commentary of mid-20th-century choreographer Anna Sokolow. Her works are little performed nowadays; Singh fell in love with her style at a concert years ago and will present a full program of rarely seen Sokolow dances Nov. 4 through 5 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. He’ll also present his annual fall festival of Indian Dance, Oct. 8 and 9 at the Lincoln Theatre, with Mallika Sarabhai and Anita Ratnam. Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post Chief Dance Critic’s Pick for Fall 2010. Washington Post, September 12, 2010.
Anna Sokolow was an unflinching choreographer of human pain and alienation. Not exactly popular stuff but unforgettably piercing. Her works are not seen much anymore (she died in 2000), which is why the Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company’s reconstruction of her 1955 piece about urban isolation, “Rooms,” is so fascinating. Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post Chief Dance Critic’s Pick for Spring 2010. Washington Post, January 31, 2010.
Taste and clarity of expression within parameters of high aesthetic standards set Dakshina from Washington DC apart as a dance company…Its gifted young director Daniel anchors talents of varying cultural origin and, himself a Bharatanatyam dancer, absorbs influences in his work. Times of India, January 3, 2010.
…impassioned and provocative … Almost 50 years after its debut, Anna Sokolow’s “Dreams” looks as fresh as ever. An intense work that reflects on the atrocities of the Holocaust, it was presented at Dance Place by Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company…Washington Post May 11, 2009
…Shiva represents a dichotomy, and the dancers surely drew his pleasure for the work to come—both light and profound…Cheryl Palonis Adams Facebook Review May 11, 2009
…I was left with a number of lingering images. A woman, her face contorted in terror, opens her mouth to scream, but no noise comes. A man clenches his outstretched fist repeatedly with his other hand as if to pull himself away from something, his pace quickening to a frenzy that leads to a breakdown. A group of individuals pull their own necks and bodies down to the ground as they struggle against the force. “Dreams,” inspired by images of the Holocaust, is a powerful piece….Chris Wingert’s Preview in theNewGay.net, May 7 2009
Archive of Coverage:
- Washington Post Review (11-8-10)
- danceviewtimes.com (11-7-10)
- Metro Weekly (11-3-10)
- Washington Post Article (10-31-10)
- danceviewtimes.com (10-10-10)
- Washington City Paper (10-8-10)
- DCist.com (10-7-10)
- Suresh Desai’s Review (1-5-10)
- Washington Post (5-11-09)
- Cheryl Palonis Adams Review (5-11-09)
- Wingert’s Preview in theNewGayNet.net (5-7-09)
- Metro DC Dance Awards (9-9-08)
- Express (7-24-08)
- Metro Weekly (7-24-08)
- Washington Blade (7-11-08)
- The Washington Post (7-11-08)
- THE COFFEE HOUSE (1-7-08)
- India Abroad (11-26-07)
- Narthaki.com (11-25-07)
- Philadelphia Inquirer (11-19-07)
- Dakshina Dance Festival (8-30-07)
- Dance View Times (9-23-07)
- The Washington Post (3-30-07)
- Newsletter (Fall 2007)
- The Washington Post (10-30-06)
- The Washington Post (7-17-06)
- Express (6-15-06)
- Metro Weekly (2-23-2006)
- DC Metro Dance Awards (8-2-2005)
- Asia Society (9-2005)
- Washington Asia Press (4-5-05)
- Washington Blade (3-8-05)
- South Asian Magazine (3-8-05)
- Diamond Backs (9-24-2004)
- Washington Blade (9-2003)
- Washington Blade (9-2000)