Dancers' Indian spice

PUBLISHED: 11:12 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

LADS culture seems an odd choice to examine through the medium of Indian dance but surprisingly it worked really well in a spellbinding piece of choreography at The Maltings Arts Theatre on Friday night. Srishti, the company which performed the three-act

LADS' culture seems an odd choice to examine through the medium of Indian dance but surprisingly it worked really well in a spellbinding piece of choreography at The Maltings Arts Theatre on Friday night.

Srishti, the company which performed the three-act work called Play Ball, frequently hold dance and music workshops in schools.

On Friday night it was the turn of students from Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead to showcase the results of a day spent with the Srishti teachers.

It was wonderful to see the girls strut their stuff, aided and abetted by the boys and girls playing their musical instruments on the side.

They clearly had learned an awful lot about classical Indian culture in a short space of time.

Bend it... was the first piece to be put on, demonstrating the use of complex footwork that Bharatanatyam (the classical Indian dance style) and football share.

The dancers and musicians became the players... they tackle, they shoot, they fake injury. A goal is scored, the crowd erupts and a celebration dance ensues.

After the testosterone-fuelled energy of the first piece, Chemistry is the lovers' reunion after a tiff. This male-female duet induced with passion and laced with vigorous but playful rhythmic passages creates a romantic and fiery dance that celebrates love and happiness, exposing the softer side of men.

I loved the loud, slapping sounds caused by their bare feet banging on the stage floor which intensified the drama.

As much as I enjoyed this phenomenonally-energetic and physically-demanding duet, I felt less would have been more. Five minutes less of it would have produced a tighter, less-diluted impact. Also, I felt the pair lacked the all-important "chemistry" so beloved of the Strictly Come Dancing judges.

Sadly I had to miss their tour de force - the prize-winning Quick! that won choreographer Nina Rajarani the Place Prize, sponsored by Bloomberg, in 2006.

Quick is an energised display of eight London businessmen. The piece portrays the impatience that goes hand in hand with the mania of city life where everyone is always in a rush. That is apparently reflected in the breakneck speed of the piece and the aggression of the interaction between the performers.

It was a shame that more people did not turn out for this highly-creative and accomplished piece of work.

As someone said on the night: "People would rather pay a fortune to go into the West End to see something of inferior quality."

MARY BROSNAN

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