Odissi Comes of Age in the UK
The Odissi Ensemble’s premiere of Shades of Love, at the Hat Factory in Luton, represents a high point both for Odissi in the UK and for the form worldwide. What is behind this grand claim you may ask? Well firstly we have five strong and charismatic performers who between them combine the best traditions of three of the four major Odissi gharans: Kelucharan Mahapatra, Deba Prasad and Pankaj Charan Das. In the process of putting together such an evening hopefully the best elements of each School will be teased out whilst retaining a unity in the overall performance.
Secondly the influences which the performers bring, be it their academic study, (two of the five are pursuing post graduate and doctoral degrees), or the study/practise of dance styles outside of their odissi training, (contemporary, bollywood and burlesque ) lend an edge to the performance. The best work comes out from a collision of factors, some cementing some pulling apart to create a dynamic situation.
Working in a co-operative way has both advantages and challenges: a greater buy-in to the overall artistic vision, or choreography by committee, which ends up by remaining in the safe centre-ground?
You will have to come to the performance to judge for yourself.I look forward to watching a run-through tomorrow at the Hat Factory to get a flavour of where the Ensemble have arrived.
Kali Chandrasegaram, Scheherazaad Cooper, Khavita Kaur, Katie Ryan and Sitara Thobani will perform in Shades of Love at the Hat Factory on Thursday 17th November 2011.