Thomas E.S Kelly and Carl Tolentino in LINEAGE. Pic Maylei Hunt
Thomas E.S Kelly and Carl Tolentino in LINEAGE. Pic Maylei Hunt

Form Dance Projects and Riverside are currently presenting the production LINEAGE with performances that draw from traditional Indian dance as well as  modern dance, performed by Australian indigenous dancers.

The opening piece, VANDANA, is performed by Aruna Gandhimathinathan and Shruti Ghosh. Aruna & Shruti were both classically trained in India. In VANDANA the performers seek the grace of the Hindu deities, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswathi, Lord Hayagriva and Lord Guru. Their costumes are bright and colourful and their dance is graceful, energetic and enthralling. Their hand gestures and head and eye movements are subtle, precise and captivating. Their ankle bells create a rhythm and add another dimension to their performance. They are accompanied by beautiful, droning Indian music.

Shruti then performs a solo piece, KATHAK NRITTA, a very rhythmic piece of Kathak style dance. The complicated beats known as Rudra Taal (11 beats) and Teentaal (16 beats) work well with the dancer’s ankle bells.

Aruna’s solo performance, JATISWARAM IN BHARATANATYAM, is a more graceful dance accompanied by haunting and melodic Indian flute. The stage was dimly light, the backdrop was illuminated and the dance was performed in silhouette, – all together a sublime combination.

Aruna & Shruti performed a duet, YAHI MADHAVA, which describes a conversation between Radha and Krishna. It is one of the highlights of the evening. Radha is annoyed with Krishna as he has been unfaithful again, but Krishna’s dance, ubiquitous flute playing and deep love for Radha eventually holds sway and the couple are reunited.

After the interval Thomas E.S. Kelly and Carl Tolentino performed DARK DREAM. This is a work that explores nightmares where we are tormented by the presence of a creature along with a feeling of helplessness. Contemporary techniques draw on Thomas E.S. Kelly’s indigenous background to explore a haunted subconscious.

A DIP FOR NARCISSUS is Tammi Gissell’s interpretation of the myth of Narcissus. Tammi explores her sense of self and reflects on aspects of her life that influence how she sees herself. The use of simple props and dramatic dance movements encourage deep introspection.

WALKING THE PATH OF LINEAGE is the final work. Aruna and Shruti explore the world of rhythm utilising their respective Bharatanatyam and Kathak dance backgrounds. The dance utilises a playful calling and answer format. The special feature of this work is Prabhu Osoniqs’ use of and playing of The Hang, a modern Swiss musical instrument which works like a cross between a tabla and a steel drum. It looks like two large woks put together with a few holes in it and is played with the hands. It provides a wonderful melody and rhythm and amounted to a fascinating and sublime finish to the evening.

 LINEAGE opened at the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta on Thursday 23rd May and plays until Saturday 25th May.