Fri 27 Oct, Barnfield Theatre
Review by J. A. Roe
Last night at the Barnfield Theatre, I saw Vibha Selvaratnam in Dashavatara (10 Incarnations of Vishnu). The performance was a traditional Bharatanatyam dance performed by Selvaratnam, who trained in the dance from an early age. Being raised in the UK, Selvaratnam is particularly passionate about sharing and portraying the artform in a way UK audiences can relate, something which was very clear last night in her performance, which I can only describe as a privilege to watch.
The performance consisted of the depiction of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, who is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. It was followed by a dance to a song by 14th century composer, singer and philosopher Purandara Dasa, about the pointlessness of arrogance, which told stories from two of India’s most prominent ancient texts, the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The performance was bookended by two auspicious dances, one to Lord Ganesh (Ganesha stitu), and the other Lord Nataraja (Mangalam), both of which felt personal and inspiring to watch.
I found the show to be inspiring and eye opening. The dance was performed delicately, but with a force and strength behind it which held the audience’s attention. Selvaratnam portrayed emotion well with her facial expressions and powerful use of her eyes. I loved experiencing a new artform and would encourage everyone to see Selvaratnam’s next performance – I know I will be going again. With intricate movement, the story of Vishnu and the fables on arrogance, I believe there is something for everyone to enjoy from this show.
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