SHOW: Shringara Rasa, The Emotion of Love
GROUP: Naatya Seva
ATTENDED: Sat., Sept. 14, 6:30 PM, Twelve Gates Arts
CLOSES: Sun., Sept. 22
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: "Take the journey through the highs and lows of everlasting love by experiencing Bharathanaatyam, a South Indian classical dance form, known for its grace and purity."
WE THINK: Shringara Rasa might actually be the least fringe-y going on in this year's festival, but that definitely shouldn't stop you from seeing it.
One could argue that including South Asian dance performances in the Fringe line-up is very consistent with the festival's principles, since audiences will be exposed to something they may have never seen. That much is true — forgetting the actual dancing for a second, potential Fringe audiences could easily pass by Twelve Gates Arts's inconspicuous Old City space without a second thought.
Still, the dances being presented are rooted in the historic lineage of bharathanaatyam, a Southern Indian classical dance form much older than most Western dance disciplines. This is somewhat anti-Fringe, because it's essentially traditional.
Feel free to disregard that as you take the electric journey that is Shringara Rasa. The last of the nine rasas (spiritual narratives that guide most classical Indian art) "shringara" animates the rollercoaster of love and desire in multiple contexts. This specific performance from Naatya Seva, a bharathanaatyam school/company led by Anita Ranjani (a disciple of some of the world’s most renowned bharathanaatyam practitioners), featured pieces from Ranjani and several young students that continually entranced the small audience at Twelve Gates for hours.
The most noteworthy pieces came from two other featured dancers animating stories about Krishna, one of the most celebrated Hindu deities in South Asian art, whose interpretive powers were matched only by their endurance (some of these pieces clocked in at nearly a half-hour, which is impressive when you consider how much this dancing involves repeated anklet-emphasized barefoot stomping). You would be foolish to not experience this timeless dance, even in a festival dedicated to the new and strange.
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