Two women walk across the stage, bright silks rustling, ankle bells tinkling. Each gives the step her own inflection. With Alarmel Valli, I noticed the curve of her arms, fingers flicking, plait swinging. With Madhavi Mudgal, the swing comes from her curving torso.
Mudgal and Valli are major dancer-choreographers in Indian classical dance. This programme is a meeting of styles, Valli's Bharatanatyam and Mudgal's Odissi. These fine dancers are supported by 11 musicians in a performance of extraordinary warmth and suppleness.
The best dancing comes when they step apart into solos. Valli's intricate dance, a hymn to the sun, shows off her beautiful arms. Her final image is marvellously simple; face lifted to the light, she sweeps her arms in a great circle, hands reaching up. The movement is slow, weighted, rapturous.
Mudgal snatches different images from the air, lightning-flash poses in a larger pattern. Her gaze sweeps a circle as her hands dart and pause. Then the music changes; Mudgal's step becomes an infectious shuffle, sidling along to a new beat. Her rhythm is brilliantly varied and exact.
Later duets show Mudgal and Valli in alternation, taking turns to play a woman rebuking Krishna for his infidelity. But both are complaining about another woman - and we can see her on stage, like the idea in a jealous lover's thoughts.Reuse content