Yaatra – Jaivant Patel Dance
Artist, dancer: Jaivant Patel
Consultant Producer: Sarah Shead at Spin Arts
Choreographic Collaborator: Nahid Siddiqui
Dramaturgy: Miranda Laurence
Research and Development showing
Arena Theatre Wolverhampton – Thursday 29th November 2017
Review produced by Tamar Dixon (Unique Tay)
So as a born n bread local of Wolverhampton it is my pleasure to finally write up a dance review for an aspiring dance performance, produced by Jaivant Patel, an artist, choreographer and an associate artist at The Arena Theatre. As much as I love dance, performance and of course writing up reviews for touring dance companies across the nation. I thought why do I always disregard my home town? Why not check out local performances and artists instead? I must say, I’m glad I did. The dance research performance Yaatra was astonishing and refreshing.
Keeping this short and sweet, as Yaatra is an unfinished product. I watched the performance blindsided, keen to be taken by surprise. The opening was pleasant, calming and a steady pace as Jaivant was kneeling down peacefully, meditating. Later he smoothly showcased his specialism in Kathak dance, with mini stomps and rapid turns. An Indian classical dance form. I took this to be the start of his untold journey through his faith and spirituality, which plays a huge part of his identity; along with being a homosexual Asian man. This became my first performance encounter, in terms of witnessing a sharing of feelings, emotions and expressions of homosexuality through dance. Due to this I appreciate the narrative presented through an exploration of expressions and beliefs. Considering I cannot identify with Jaivant, I admire how he skillfully combines his lifestyle and experiences with his artistic skillset… the ability to create such breathtaking, strong choreography. Collaborated with Nahid Siddiqui.
To venture along a journey to self discovery and embracing self identity
From gesturing religious rituals, dangling musical anklets, known as ghunghru, (correct me if I am wrong) to boldly walking tall with his classy handbag. Yaatra, portrays a myriad of real-life experiences, tangled in Kathak storytelling. What I love about Kathak is the rather distinct facial expressions, so raw, so enticing and so inviting. I felt invited to venture along a journey to self discovery and embracing self identity. Jaivant certainly impressed the audience with his vivid facial expressions forcing his dual livelihood upon us to endure. Particularly during the 3rd section where I acknowledged certain European Contemporary techniques of swirls, leg kicks and experimental floor work, I personally found it easier to familiarise with. Due to my background, being trained in Contemporary dance.
Although this developmental piece held such significant moments, such as the letting go of his hair, I felt was so powerful towards the end of the performance. However I wasn’t so sure of the significance behind it, whether this gesture linked to his heritage and/or faith? Along with the supporting context I personally found difficult to connect with.
Post Show Talk
Notwithstanding, for me the highlight of the overall showing at The Arena Theatre, was the post show talk. This truly enabled a deeper understanding, insight and appreciation for Jaivant’s work. He gave thanks to all of his supporters along his research and creation. Furthermore, the audience was offered the opportunity to not only ask questions but also to answer Jaivant’s and the producers questions. I found this a more meaningful way to gaining the audience perspective. To a great advantage refreshments was served to encourage networking and togetherness. I certainly cherished this moment. I am all for taking every opportunity out there and so I managed to network, discuss and learn from other creators, during this time.
Jaivant Patel is an independent dance artist, choreographer of south Asian dance forms, also founded his community based dance organisation, Jai Jashn Dance, promoting Asian heritage through his classes. Oh and recently he was appointed Arena Theatres FIRST associate artist. Congratulations! It is always great news to learn of emerging artists in a small town developing more aspiring work and opportunities for our local communities. This has indeed inspired me to push myself beyond my limits. I am fond of working closely with the community, especially within a cultural context. Sharing and promoting ones cultural background creates an impact, in dance and the arts. Yaatra has inspired me to explore my own identity as a young artist but certainly as a young Caribbean black woman navigating my way through society and through the world of arts.
- To learn more about Jai’s dance work and future performances/opportunities check out Jaivant Patel Dance and the Arena Theatre.
- Take a quick peak of my previous reviews and dance blogs over here
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