Monday, 24 November 2014

GFest Mythical Dance

S(He)-dom: freedom versus he-or-she-dom/ Mohini: god becomes enchantress, RADA Studios - reviewed on 20th November
 
Kali Chandrasegaram in
 S(He)-dom: freedom
versus he-or-she-dom
South Asian dance may seem like an unusual choice for a gay festival, but Kali Chandrasegaram’s S(He)-dom: freedom versus he-or-she-dom explored several important issues for the LGBT community. Commencing in silhouette behind a screen, Chandrasegaram’s hands and body fluttered through a range of traditional South Asian postures and gestures. Emerging into full light, the dancer’s traditionalism then became more questionable as his eclectic costume – draped sari-like fabric combined with a fitted faux leather corset – became visible.
 
“Clothes don’t define whether you’re a man or a woman” he stated, directly addressing the audience. “Why are female toilets represented by the symbol of someone wearing a skirt?” questioned his (unnamed) dance partner.
 
Whilst these key ideas about gender and the perception of masculinity and femininity represented the warm heart of the work, its execution was severely lacking. Dancers stuttered over their speeches, the rap band Ajah UK’s lyrics were inaudible and danced sequences appeared under-rehearsed. It was clear that both creators and performers had not had enough time to make S(He)-dom’s interesting concept into the engaging and challenging piece that it could have been.
 
Completing the evening, Justin McCarthy’s Mohini: god becomes enchantress was a much slicker affair. Performed by its choreographer, traditional dance sections were interspersed with textual and image-based slides telling ancient Indian stories. McCarthy's movements were effortless but I lacked the necessary South Asian dance knowledge to understand the meaning behind them.

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