'Angika' at the Place, 27.11.01
'Angika', choreographed and peformed by two Asian women - Mayuri Boonham and Subathra Subramaniam - proves conclusivly that Asian dance has a place here and now, up there with the hippest of contemporary choreography (though thankfully free of the pretentiousness that dogs much of that ilk).
The pair have been touring 'Angika' extensively before it reached The Place and have obviously had time to hone it to perfection. 'Sudarsana' the opening number of their double bill was thrilling. The programme notes stated that the piece was about 'exaggerated senses of fear, lust, ego...'. The dancers' bare feet slapped hard and audibly on the stage to the rythmic and lushly Indian-sounding score composed by Shin Parwana & Paul Timothy. They moved with beautifully articulated arms and hands and elegantly held shoulders and head, which added intriguingly to their powerful, unhurried jumps. Their softly explosive splay-legged leaps, with arms and hands upheld in a mirroring gesture were surprising, but the choreography throughout the piece constantly surprised. Just when we were being lulled by the music into thinking 'Asian dance', an unmistakeably European movement would take us by surprise, such as when one of the women unexpectedly pulled the other backwards along the floor, legs trailing, as if in a Forsyth or an Ashley Page piece. Gabriella Ingram's gorgeous orange and lemon coloured baggy-pants and crop-topped costumes flattered the already beautiful women and did much to add to the exoticism of the piece.
The second and final number 'Pulse of Tala' to an originally composed score by Talvin Singh was to my mind less successful, perhaps overcome by fussy and distracting lighting and some irritating digital projection - the choreography was good enough to stand by itself, and yet again, Boonham and Subramaniam proved themselves superlatively muscular, graceful and controlled dancers.
Sadly, their last appeance on their current tour is tomorrow (Thurs. 29 Nov.) at the Green Room in Manchester (0161 615 0500). Mancunians, what are you waiting for?