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Review of Kadambi and Krishna by George Jackson

A Face!

Indira Kadambi 300 widthIndira Kadambi and Sheejith Krishna
Bharata Natyam Recital
England Studio
The Washington Ballet
Washington, DC
July 31, 2014

by George Jackson
copyright 2014 by George Jackson

The woman’s face was like a canvas on which she could conjure any emotion, any expression, any state humanly possible. It wasn’t beautiful or poignant but a plain, average, mortal face when at rest. In an instant, though, the woman could transform it to encompass heaven or hell. She also was able to take her time and let feeling ripen slowly. Sometimes her thoughts woke gradually, allowing doubts to dissolve imperceptibly into the calmest of dreams. This face I’ll not forget is a face that dances. It belongs to Indira Kadambi, who is in town with her male colleague Sheejith Krishna to teach aspects of India dance for Daniel Phoenix Singh’s Dakshina organization. Singh decided, spur of the moment, that Washington had to see the two instructors perform and he sponsored this free recital.

Sheejith KrishnaEach of the two teachers showed two solos. 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. Both his dances were very mobile and he claimed all parts of the studio’s available breadth and depth, displaying the finely controlled flexibility of his joints.

Kadambi often danced while stationary, standing in one spot or sitting on the floor. She looks small, compact and, initially, of an uncertain age. In action, her arms, hands or fingers were often in dialogue with the expressions of her face, but unquestionably it was the face that was her chief instrument. Never, though, did it seem that she was busy pantomiming. Her features play their games so naturally that one must remind oneself to notice the art. The second solo may have been the story of a woman awaiting the arrival of her love. Wanting nothing more than to please him, she doesn’t get the chance – I’m guessing as to the specific scenario but am rock certain about what flitted across that face – a kaleidoscope display of feelings!