A dance performance

I went to a dance prformance yesterday. Rajeswari Sainath was going to do a dance ballet – War and Peace – involving reinterpreting the epics and using a traditional dance form to examine contemporary events. Sounded interesting.


So much breastbeating when it could have been so much more. Such a wonderful chance to stimulate the intellect, stir up some emotion, and pleasure the senses – and it did none of those things!

So much serious work on war and its effects on women, on women’s bodies as sites of violence, on women’s bodies as sites of war – so much serious work, and this ballet turned out to be so shallow… It addressed all these themes, but had nothing to say about them. As I said, breastbeating. When it could actually have made us think about the hows and the whys of war, making it as simplistic as violent man v. passive woman. When it could have made us think about these stereotypes, just going out and reinforcing them.

And breastbeating doesn’t really evoke sympathy, either. It just creates mild disgust. Of a sort. No emotion. How can a ballet about something as evocative as women and war not evoke the mildest emotional response? They managed it.

It started off aesthetically, at least. Then the narratives began to screech, the voices were too loud, the dancers were tired, nrittam and abhinayam both suffered…

What can I say? An evening wasted, and it means I have to go to the tailor today instead.


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