The horror of the London underground bombing and its ripple effect on South Asians will be brought to the fore through a contemporary dance style choreographed by UK-based Shobana Jeyasingh during her troupe's maiden tour of India beginning November 8.
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company founded in 1988 by the Chennai-born artistic director and choreographer will stage Faultline and Bruise Blood for the first time in India.
She plans to take the dance pieces to Delhi and Mumbai during the tour which will start with a performance here. "Faultline attempts to paint a gripping picture of the turbulent tensions among 21st century British-Asians," Shobana said during a pre-event press meet.
"Three things inspired Faultine," she said. "First was my awareness of public anxiety around young Asians, particularly men, because of fears about terrorism. Suddenly after the London bombing, life got difficult for South Asians, especially males," she said. "Secondly it was the novel 'Londonsiani' by Gautam Malkani on young Asian men in southwest London that inspired me. Thirdly it was the recording of a soprano, electronically manipulated to tense, unsettling effect by scanner," Shobana, recipient of London Music and Dance Award and Asian Woman of Achievement prize for her contribution to the arts, said.
Faultline refers to weak areas in the earth's surface which causes things to move. Taking up from the concept, the dance tries to portray events that moves things. The dance piece has the scanner's electronic sound score interwoven with music by Errolyn Wallen, sung by the classical Goan and now UK-based Soprano Patricia Rozario.
Pete Gomes' flickering monocrhome shot in Southall and Brick Lane adds to the intensity of the atmosphere, says Shobana. The dance received some strong feedback when presented in UK, she says and expects the same in India. "Terrorism is global and not merely UK-related. Whether it is 9/11 or 26/11, it is the same horror unleashed and one with which the Indian audience will identify," she said.
The second piece is Bruise Blood based on Steve Reich's early voice and electronic composition Come Out, which composer Glyn Perrin has remixed to create a new version, sections of which will be performed live by beat boxer Shlomo. Reich had taken a sentence of a 19-year-old boy, wrongly arrested in 1964 Harlem riots, who had to open up his wounds on his body to convince people that police had beaten him up.
He took the recorded line "I had to open up the bruise and let the bruise blood come through" and doubled it up and looped the results. Glyn Perrin, with remix of Reich piece and Shlomo's own take worked in, gives it a new feel.