CHENNAI: The US Consulate General Chennai and Government Museum Chennai put together Sangamam — a dance performance by Washington DC-based team Dakshina led by Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company at the Museum Theatre Egmore. Founded in 2003, Dakshina serves as a platform that offers artistes and communities the opportunity to dance linking art, cultures and social causes. They’re known for celebrating traditions and creating new vocabularies in dance and movement. The team consists of five dancers. This is their third performance in the city.
“Performing in this city is always special. Despite the humid weather, the drive to dance keeps us going,” says Valerie Branch, one of the dancers. True to the name, Sangamam comprised of two dance pieces, Eternal Spring and Chakra, choreographed by American artist Daniel Phoenix Singh, artistic director and president of Dakshina. The dance form is a combination of the modern dance and classical Bharatanatyam. As we watch the performance, we realise how smooth the transition is, right from the pace of the dance, flow of the music to the change in costume. “Conveying different emotions through moves is not easy. And Daniel is particular about the feel of the dance. He has taken meticulous efforts to get the costumes right,” says Alexis Wolff, the spokesperson.
The first session of the performance was called Eternal Spring. Set to Vivaldi’s four seasons, this dance is an ode to joy in all the cycles of life. It is imagined as a celebration of the momentary people we come in contact with.
The second session Chakra uses the Indian myth of Subhadra eloping with Krishna as a starting point to explore woman’s roles in our society. Subhadra is the first documented woman to have eloped. She is shown as a warrior princess, who is capable of riding a team of horses. She is seen as the first depiction of the liberated woman. Chakra also means circle or cycles, and the dance looks at various aspects of Subhadra and her daughter-in-law Uttara’s stories. The dance focuses on the cost of the war on families. “The team is working towards exploring and presenting dance in innovative ways. The motto is to strengthen the cultural ties,” adds Alexis.