Dance that is innovative and mesmerising
Ankusha and Other Mysteries, Warwick Arts Centre, Nov 26 only. Five very different parts made up the whole of this mesmerising night, part of the first UK tour of the Kamala Devam Company. In the first short piece, Kamala begins kneeling, flexing her muscular back and telling us about her surgery and pondering on what the space left inside could hold – a bigger heart, a baby? – as she writhes around the floor with lots of grabbing and pulling. Next is The Art of Defining Me, a film of a mock interview of her applying for funding, something the flyer shows she has been successful at, but sarcastically demonstrating the cultural and societal restrictions placed on performers by funders. Kamala jumps around the interview room, as she reluctantly agrees to the demands made on her, and Seeta Patel, avoiding the application of a strategic bindi, dances inside a house full of doors and tight spaces. The third section sees Kamala return for a classical bharantanatyam work, Jati-Swara-Leela, in Indian costume with jingling anklets, a beautiful and disciplined dance showing her training in the genre. Kamila Lewandowska is the dancer Babushka vs Renaissance Man, which explores popping and kalaripayattu, a South Indian martial art. Kamila at times glides to the music, then her body flexes and jerks in time with it. In the final dance, Ankusha, Kamala, Tamzen Moulding and Franco Conquisto show amazing athleticism to examine destiny and the will to control one’s life. Their bodies colluding with the floor, they throw themselves around and roll and summersault over each other, depicting first competition then the creation of a relationship. The spacey music by Genevieve Crutchfield is something you want to take home with you. The different parts demonstrate choreographic skills, and an ability to explore ideas through dance which is innovative and entertainingly varied.