Twenty five years ago, Shobana Jeyasingh founded her company by creating Configurations with composer Michael Nyman. Mixing the Indian classical style Bharata Natyam with contemporary dance and music, Jeyasingh launched her career.
She marks this anniversary with another musical collaboration, the new Strange Blooms. Composer Gabriel Prokofiev has remixed a baroque harpsichord piece by Couperin. It opens as a storm of electronic sound, as roiling bodies group and seethe. Behind them, Jan Urbanowski’s blurred animation shows patterns changing.
Strange Blooms is inspired by plants: their tenacity and growth, the mathematical patterns that govern their shapes. That opening burst seems forced, but Strange Blooms gains authority as it opens out. As the sound calms into speedy electronic patterns, the tangle spreads out, breaking into duets and trios.
The dancers wrap around each other with intense focus. There’s a sense of confrontation as the dancers stretch and grow, following different rhythms within a single grouping. Hand patterns and deep pliés suggest Jeyasingh’s classical roots, with contemporary weight to her fierce lines. Sunbee Han stands out, dancing with cool power.
A glowing account of the recently revised Configurations opens this anniversary programme, full of speedy footwork, whirling speed and intricate rhythms.
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