Review: Material Men Redux

Review: Material Men Redux

Material Men Redux
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
27th March 2017
The Patrick Centre – Birmingham Hippodrome

Shobana Jeyasingh’s captivating choreography, Material Men Redux, precisely portrays the history of the Indian indentured labour system and colonial migration. Shobana shares the deep rooted historical events through individual stories of two dazzling strong performers of the Indian diaspora; Sooraj Subramanian and Shailesh Bahoran. The two versatile performers engaged the audience with their distinctive differences of technique. Sooraj trained in classical Indian dance – Bharatanatyam and Shailesh in Hip Hop.

The two electrifying styles fused beautifully together as the performers coming from different worlds, cross paths as they both of their roots stem back to India. Material Men Redux, explores the horrific conditions
and mistreatment of the indentured labourers. Whereas the performance itself shown this from subtle to aggressive gestures, stomps and krump-like movements. The overall performance was set alight thanks to The Smith Quartet, who performed live music onstage. The Smith Quartet truy enabled the audience, and certainly myself of course, to feel a sense of empathy, along with a mixture of emotions.
The contrast between dancers Sooraj and Shailesh, struck me as they wrestle and unravel their way out of the orange saree, presuming, at this point, they were seeking for freedom. Take a quick peak>
Shailesh breaks into the 1990 one-handed spin, (a common Breakin’
power move), as the saree wraps around his hand… He later expresses his frustration as he aggressively body slams himself to the floor, repeatedly pacing across the stage into a front flip. Later he pauses and breaks into the toy man dance; a dance style part of popping & The Electric Boogaloo.
The classical Bharatanatyam dancer Sooraj, gracefully swifts through the stage, as he expands his arms in different direction, forming delicate patterns, known as the Natta Adavu in Bharatanatyam. Sooraj range of delicate movements gradually builds up with more dynamics and aggressiveness through tapping, or shall I say stomping, his feet,
known as Tattu Adavu.
The variety of choreography and presence of the two performers truly opened my eyes to a different culture, history and experiences, which is why I’ve always been so passionate about dance. Dance is an art form, a way of
self-expression and storytelling. I must command Shobana for the glorious imagery presented, as for
me, it was a lesson taught about the history of the Indian diaspora.
Unique Tay

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