February 23rd, 2015, 2:00 pm by Sara
October 12th, 2011, 1:30 pm by Sara
Shantala Shivalingapa in performance. (photo: Christopher.Duggan)
By Larry Murray
Williams College’s ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance presents Akasha by Shantala Shivalingappa. Akasha features the choreography of Shantala Shivalingappa and Vempati Ravi Shankar (son of Shivalingappa’s Kuchipudi guru Vempati Chinna Satyam) in a program of five Kuchipudi solos, each performed by Shivalingappa and accompanied by live singing, flute and percussion. In Sanskrit, Akasha means “sky” or “space” and is regarded as the source of life. Each work in Akasha is inspired by a traditional Hindu poem. There will be one performance only on Wednesday (February 25) at 8pm on the ’62 Center’s MainStage in Williamstown. Tickets are $10; $3 students.
Born in Madras, India, and brought up in Paris, Shantala is the child of east and west. Deeply moved and inspired by Master Vempati Chinna Satyam’s pure and graceful style, Shantala dedicated herself to Kuchipudi, and received an intense and rigorous training from her master.
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From India to Europe, and at our very own Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2008, Shantala Shivalingappa has been acclaimed for her exquisite versatility. She breaks new ground with her contemporary solos while evoking two millennia of history with her traditional Indian dance.
A renowned performer in Kuchipudi, a 2,000-year-old Indian style that fuses dance, music, and theater, Shivalingappa has been called “a total revelation” and “divinely gifted” for her grace, finesse, and powerful presence on stage. She has also performed with some of the greatest contemporary theater and dance artists working today, including Maurice Béjart and Peter Brook, bringing her stamp of classical mastery to contemporary works.
The program begins with two solos, one created with the legendary Pina Bausch, that pairs her sensuous and precise dancing style with new forms. This is followed by an excerpt from Swayambhu, a Kuchipudi-based performance choreographed by Shivalingappa, danced in shimmering silks and in rhythmically complex and playful dialogue with four master musicians. All in all it can be described as a two-for-one event, a dynamic double program of contemporary solos and traditional Indian dance.
Click to read the rest of this story at Berkshire on Stage.