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DWITA – Duality of Life – A Bharatanatyam recital in duet by Rama Vaidyanathan and Dakshina Vaidyanathan

by Robert Abrams
April 25, 2015
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU
566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Sq South)
New York, NY 10012
212-279-4200
Rama Vaidyanathan and Dakshina Vaidyanathan presented a Bharatanatyam recital with live accompaniment by Nattuvangam, Dr. S. Vasudevan, K. Venkateshwaran, Ramamoorthy Sriganesh and Rajat Prasanna.

The dance concert was extremely enjoyable. Here are a few reasons why.

I felt the dancers gave me the ability to see both sides of the dancer at once by performing the same movements in sync but in different orientations relative to the audience. At other times, the two dancers were dancing as one, not just in sync (more than once).

The dancers used very, very precise marking.

They often featured explosive small movements. They had choreographed eyes and beautiful isolations.

Ms. Vaidyanathan^2 were always perfectly balanced no matter which direction they stretched an arm or leg.

Parts of the show were playful. Parts were formal.

If a dancer's technique is good enough, that alone can be enough to carry the audience's attention without worrying about the choreography. That was the case here. The choreography is still important, but the dance can be enjoyed on a level where each movement is engrossing, separate from every other movement.

So, one dance is not one dance but multiple dances depending on how the audiences choose or are accustomed to observing it. This is a reason that an audience member with skilled observational skills can watch the same show multiple times, and see each fresh. The more skilled the dance audience, the more tickets dance companies can sell. But, it is important that the dance, or at least a good portion of dance, can be enjoyed by someone who knows nothing about it: new dance fans have to start somewhere, or they are going to try it once, be mystified and then go back to their TVs.

I would definitely see DWITA a second time.

At one point, the dancers gave a thumbs up gesture in a seated position. The audience clearly felt the same way.

This was dance so bright to wake the soul.

I thought that the show was like a commencement given by a mother to her daughter. In this sense, while the dancing was highly accomplished, it also represented a beginning.
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