At BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! The air was muggy on Friday night, but was cooled by regular breezes. “sacred earth” Ragamala Dance Company When I played at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, it felt like the opposite.
As it happens, “Sacred Earth” is about human emotions and their correspondence with the natural environment. The exemplary Minneapolis-based theater troupe, led by Ranee Ramaswamy and her daughter Aparna and her Ashwini, like all of Ragamila’s other productions, this work is inspired by her Bharatanatyam, a South Indian classical dance form. Rooted. A more obvious one is the utilization of kolam, a kind of decorative art made from rice flour. Warli murals (partially reproduced in projection). And about ancient Tamil poetry where the divinity of the physical world allows images from nature to suggest inner states, especially romantic ones.
For example, one poem addresses the contradiction of love. Now she gives him sweet water, which he calls brackish water. Others liken the bond between lovers to the mixture of red earth and rain.
In “Sacred Earth” the words of the poem are not shown except when sung by one of the four musicians flanking the stage or translated into English by an online program, but in a series of solos An image is displayed. It’s like a silent monologue. These are mainly danced by Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy is adept at depicting flowering buds and large numbers of bees by hand. While the mothers stick to the storytelling, the daughters alternate between pantomime-like movements and more athletic action, lunging with fencer precision and leaping with astonishing nimbleness.
These solos are performed primarily in unison, alternating with short group sections involving four other dancers. Alternating group solos are most effective before the section in which Aparna enacts her poem about being abandoned at the seaside, while other dancers ride waves across the stage, leaving her alone and washed away .
Otherwise, the group section is a bit functional, and the solo on Bharatanatyam’s flirtatious side gains identity in succession. Exciting group material—a rhythmically alive meandering procession—doesn’t arrive near the end, and its impact is dampened with many entrances and exits. In a strange jerky pattern, the audience repeatedly wonders if the show is over.
But that’s not how it ends. Rani and Aparna, who choreographed the piece, conclude with a pair of prayers, stretching out in the form of tree branches and offering.
For me, the strongest connection in Sacred Earth was not between humans and nature, but between music and dance. How Preshi Mahesh’s voice, which intersects closely with KP Nandini’s violin, helped Aparna evoke the sleeping eyes of lotus flowers, and how CK Basdevan’s rhythmic recitation intersects with Aparna. Spurred and honed by Ashwini’s bursts of speed. Or how Sakthivel Muruganantham’s drumming flutters match Ranee’s finger flutters, and even if you’re sitting in the rainless heat, you’ll still be able to enjoy a storm. aroused a sense of