"Shiva Tarangam," "Woke Up Blind," "Witness," "Beckoning"
Shantala Shivalingappa, Nederlands Dans Theater, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Cloud Gate 2
Fall for Dance Program #5
City Center, New York
October 7, 2016
by Tom Phillips
copyright 2016 by Tom Phillips
Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction, but what he destroys is the veil of illusion that separates us from the truth. He prepares our eyes to behold the play of the Gods, and even imitate it on this earth. Such is the theory and practice of Shantala Shivalingappa, born in south India, raised in Paris, trained in the classical Indian dance form Kuchipudi, who has dedicated her career to sharing the form with Western audiences.
There was not even the hint of a misstep in Shivalingappa’s opening performance Friday. “Shiva Tarangam” had the feel of a ceremony, performed so many times that flawless repetition becomes part of the expression – yet alive and new, in every flutter of the hands, curve of the instep, opening of the lips, flash of the eye. It even includes a trick sequence, as she moves about the stage balancing on a brass plate, like a child on a skateboard. Shivalingappa danced to live music of an Indian ensemble, seated cross-legged on the floor, who were similar masters of their art. This set the tone for Program Five of Fall for Dance, an international event and a mixed bag.
Shantala Shivalingappa. Photo by Hector Perez