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Lincoln Center presents White Light Festival 2016 Dance — Sounds of India

White Light Festival

By Don Adkins, Managing Editor, October 5, 2016

In numerology the number “seven” has special significance and is said to resonate with many qualities, such as faith and spirituality, spiritual awakening and awareness, spiritual enlightenment, spiritual development, mysticism, intuition and inner-knowing. So it is fitting that the seventh edition of the White Light Festival has been designated Sounds of India. The festival, curated by Mark Morris, has its artistic expression originating and inspired by South India, and will shed light on the universal nature of India’s artistic heritage and dynamism. Sounds of India will feature performances by Mark Morris Dance Group, Liz Gerring Dance Company, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet’s full-evening work Babel(words), as well as classical dance and music artists Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Troupe and Nritygram Dance Ensemble. In addition, Mark Morris Dance Group will perform revivals of two India-inspired solos from early in Morris’ career remade on members of the company, a humorous duet set to a lively Tamil film score, and the world premiere of Pure Dance Items set to music of Terry Riley.

Performances will take place in various venues around the city; the full schedule is below:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm / Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, choreography
Damien Jalet, choreography
Antony Gormley, visual design
Dancers: Benfury, Christine Leboutte, Darryl E. Woods, Kazutomi “Tsuki” Kozuki, Helder Seabra, Paea Leach, Francis Ducharme, Damien Fournier, Navala “Niku” Chaudhari, Sandra Delgadillo Porcel, Ulrika Kinn Svensson, Aimilios Arapoglou, Sang-Hun Lee
Musicians: Mahabub Khan, Sattar Khan, Patrizia Bovi, Gabriele Miracle, Kazunari Abe

Babel(words); photo: Koen Broos

Babel(words); photo: Koen Broos

Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who brought his Sutra to the inaugural White Light Festival in 2010, returns with Babel(words), a dance performance that explores nationhood, identity, and cross-cultural communication. Based on the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, this work, co-choreographed with Damien Jalet, features giant, three-dimensional frames by sculptor Antony Gormley that become an apartment block, a tower, a prison, and a city in turn. Through dance, multilingual chatter, and an explosive score, this exceptionally apt modern retelling explores pluralism, isolation, and obstacles to communication that have led us to a deepening fragmentation in our modern world. Babel(words) premiered April 27, 2010 at La Monnaie in Brussels and won Best New Dance Production and Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Set Design at the 2011 Olivier Awards.

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm / Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street

Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Troupe
Dussasana Vadhom (“The Killing of Dussasana”) from the Mahabharata

The Killing of Dussasana

Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Troupe “The Killing of Dussasana”

A troupe of performers from Kerala Kalamandalam, a premier performing arts institution in southern India, presents the mythic dance-drama of Kathakali, an art form based on ancient ritual folk dances in the state of Kerala, practiced in its current form since the 17th century. Kathakali dancers often spend a decade of intensive martial arts training preparing for their roles. Utilizing elaborate costumes, colorful makeup, refined gestures, ornate singing, and accompanying percussion, this all-male troupe will bring to life a mythological tale from a Hindu epic.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm / Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm / Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street

Mark Morris Dance Group
Mark Morris, choreographer
MMDG Music Ensemble
O Rangasayee
The “Tamil Film Songs in Stereo” Pas de Deux
Pure Dance Items (World premiere)

Choreographer Mark Morris has spent decades traveling to southern India, attending annual festivals, concerts, and dance performances. This specially curated program for the Mark Morris Dance Group reprises two India-inspired Morris solos, O Rangasayee (1984) and Serenade (2003), performed for the first time by members of his company, as well as a humorous 1983 duet set to a lively Tamil film score—one of the rare Morris creations using prerecorded music. The program culminates in the World premiere of Pure Dance Items set to live music composed by Terry Riley, and choreographed for a small ensemble.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm / Friday, November 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 West 59th Street

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
Surupa Sen, choreographer
Nrityagram Music Ensemble
Panchtaal Pallavi
Lalita Lavanga

Surupa Sen & Bijayini Satpathy Nrityagram dancers; photo: Shalini Jain

Surupa Sen & Bijayini Satpathy Nrityagram dancers; photo: Shalini Jain

In a village devoted to dance in southern India, Nrityagram dancers complement their intensive training with the study of literature, Sanskrit, yoga, meditation, and martial arts. The result is an all-female troupe expertly channeling the powerful imagery, compelling physicality, and emotional honesty of Odissi dance, a classical Indian form dating back 2,000 years. Odissi dancers create the illusion of temple sculpture coming to life through balancing weight on one foot and using isolated, curved torso movements, forming an eternal “S” pattern with the body in space.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 8:00 pm / Friday, November 11, 2016 at 8:00 pm / Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm
Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 W. 37th Street

(T)here to (T)here (World premiere)
Liz Gerring Dance Company
Liz Gerring, choreographer
In collaboration with Kay Rosen
Michael J. Schumacher, composer
Amith Chandrashaker, lighting design
Joshua Higgason, video set design
Dancers: Brandon Collwes, Joseph Giordano, Pierre Guilbault, Julia Jurgilewicz, Claire Westby

Brandon Collwes and Claire Westby, Liz Gerring Dance Company; photo: Miguel Anaya

Brandon Collwes and Claire Westby, Liz Gerring Dance Company; photo: Miguel Anaya

New York-based choreographer Liz Gerring developed (T)here to (T)here in collaboration with visual artist Kay Rosen. Using projected text to create a visual space of words and color, (T)here to (T)here follows a central couple whose solos come together and move apart, mirroring the cyclical nature of relationships. Featuring an original score by frequent Gerring collaborator Michael J. Schumacher, this intimate performance allows the audience to experience the dancers as individuals with unique, yet universal, human experiences. This work has been in development since 2014 and receives its world premiere at the 2016 White Light Festival.

For a list of New York City dance performances, click here.

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Cover: Babel(words); photo: Koen Broos



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