Barely over Sutrarasa, its 6th Sutra Festival, the irrepressible Sutra Dance Theatre, true to its promise of continuously bringing the best of dance to Kuala Lumpur audiences, is now ready for its annual Under the Stars series of performances under the artistic direction of Ramli Ibrahim.
Running 3 July to 3 August 2003, the Under The Stars series will see an impressive array of dance productions dished up according to three main themes – Those Man Enough (male dancers performing Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi), A Season of Odissi (featuring some of the most bewitching Odissi dancers) and Salam Benua (contemporary dance melding Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with Usman Awang’s Salam Benua).
Programme 1) Those Man Enough (Bharata Natyam & Kuchipudi)
· 3-4 July – Saayujya (An eternity of longing) Bharata Natyam by Ajit Bhaskaran Dass with live music
· 5 July – Amma (Mother Goddess) Bharata Natyam by Guna & Nadarajan Muniandy with live music led by Padma Subramaniam
· July – Divine Encounters II Bharata Natyam by Ramli Ibrahim, Guna, Nadarajan Muniandy, Dennis Shambumani, Santiago Samathanam, Ajit Bhaskaran Dass, Vemana Appannah & Jagathesywara
· 11-12 July – Bharata Natyam by Lakshman, a Malaysian Bharata Natyam dancer, based in Chennai
· 13 July – Kuchipudi by Dennis Shambhumani, a Malaysian Kuchipudi dancer
Programme 2) A Season Of Odissi
. 18 July – Pallavi II by the Sutra dancers and Ajit Bhaskaran Dass
· 19-20 July – Heightened States with Ramli Ibrahim and Leena Mohanty
· 26 July – Odissi by Ileana Citaristi, an Italian born Odissi dancer
Programme 3) Salam Benua
· 1-3 August – Salam Benua is a specially commissioned work of contemporary dance between Sutra Dance Theatre and choreographer Ileana Citaristi
For all performances:
Venue: Amphi-Sutra, 12 Persiaran Titiwangsa 3, 53200 Kuala Lumpur
Tickets: RM30 / RM20 (students with valid identification – limited to first 50 only)
Time: 8.30 pm
Those Man Enough
A provocative series of Malaysian male dancers in Bharata Natyam – the southern Indian temple dance – usually the domain of female dancers. Pioneered by internationally known dancers such as Ramli Ibrahim and Chandrabhanu, Malaysia is recognized in the Indian dance world for producing some of the finest male dancers in Bharata Natyam.
In spite of the general social stigmas and lack of encouragement, Malaysia continues to produce exciting male Bharata Natyam dancers who have taken the challenge of making their presence felt in spite of society’s pressures to do otherwise.
Saayujya (an eternity of longing) is that passionate quest urged by the summons of desire. Saayujya explores the emotion that lures and entwines. It features dancer Ajit Bhaskaran Dass who, with his ‘Nureyev appeal’, gives a spellbinding performance that transcends all boundaries of gender, space and style.
Amma (Mother Goddess) returns by popular demand. For those who missed this powerful homage to The Goddess by two of Malaysia’s best-known Bharata Natyam male dancers, Guna and Nadarajan, Amma is a chance not to be missed! Distinguished carnatic singer Padma Subramaniam contributes to this evocative and unforgettable insight to our Universal Amma!
Divine Encounters II – returns with new works. Never before has the stage been graced by such a stellar group of male dancers including Ramli Ibrahim, Guna, Nadarajan Muniandy, Dennis Shambumani, Santiago Samathanam, Ajit Bhaskaran Dass, Vemana Appannah & Jagathesywara. The tradition of male dancing in Malaysia has finally come to full flowering in Divine Encounters and surely, Siva the Lord of Dance must be well pleased.
Bharata Natyam by Lakshman, a celebrated Malaysian Bharata Natyam dancer based in Chennai. Having established himself as one of the most sought after male dancers and a recognised guru of dance in Chennai, A. Lakshman is also making a name for himself for his dance compositions presently in the repertoire of Chennai’s top dancers such as Urmila Satyanarayan and Priya Darshini Govindan. Lakshman finally makes his presence felt in his Malaysian debut performance.
Kuchipudi by Dennis Shambhumani, a well-known Malaysian dancer and teacher with a large following. Trained in both Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi, Dennis takes the stage in a rare performance of Kuchipudi, the popular androgynous style of Andhra Pradesh made famous by the male dancers of Kuchipudi village who don women’s clothes to perform this dance. Dennis performs new works in the Kuchipudi repertoire, which he has just acquired from his recent sojourn in India.
A Season of Odissi
An exciting series of Malaysia’s favourite Indian classical dance showcasing three bewitching Odissi dancers: Leena Mohanty, the best in the Deba Prasad Odissi tradition; Italian born Ileana Citaristi, a phenomenon and considered one of the best of the senior Odissi dancers in India; and of course, our very own Ramli Ibrahim.
Heightened States with Ramli Ibrahim, whose name is synonymous with Odissi in Malaysia, and Bhubaneswar-based Leena Mohanty. Leena Mohanty is a prodigious talent emerging as one of the most impressive Odissi dancers in India today representing the Odissi style of the late Guru Deba Prasad.
Odissi by Ileana Citaristi, an Italian born dancer who has made Orissa her home and Odissi her calling. One of the rare non-Indians recognised as one of the top Odissi dancers in the world today, Ileana Citaristi continues her legacy and contribution to dance in India not only as a dancer but as a teacher, writer and scholar.
This work of contemporary dance has been commissioned by Ramli Ibrahim of Ileana Citaristi to choreograph a work that melds Stravinsky’s most famous work, the Rite of Spring, with the well-known poem of the late Usman Awang, Salam Benua.
Ileana Citaristi (presently making waves in India for using martial arts elements, especially those of Chhau, an indigenous martial arts/dance of Orissa) takes on the challenge of interpreting Usman Awang’s humanitarian plea to world peace and setting it to this well known musical piece commissioned by Diaghilev and choreographed by Nijinsky at the turn of the twentieth century.
Seven dancers – Ramli Ibrahim, Guna, Weijun, Leena Mohanty, Shagun Butani, January Low, Shangita Namashivayam and Biljana Kiryova, a group with diverse backgrounds and nationalities, from pure Indian classical dance to ballet, from Malay to Macedonian, will interpret Ileana Citaristi’s world premiere.