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Choreographed Dylan
NIDHI GUPTA  11th Dec 2011

A male quintet performing Ohad Naharin’s Black Milk

ylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, may have claimed to write only for those "who pay no praise or wages/nor heed [his] craft or art", but when the National Dance Company Wales danced his words, they left the audience spell-bound. On a tour in India, they performed choreographer Stephen Petronio's Singing Light and world-renowned choreographer Ohad Naharin's B/olero and Black Milk to full houses and standing ovations in Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.

The show began with B/olero where two women move from slow clockwork movements into an explosion of dance, framing their individuality and co-dependence. This moved into Black Milk, where five men put on a ceremonial tribal form of dance, depicting ideas of aggression that define masculinity.

Singing Light was a lyrical ode to Dylan Thomas. The dancers pirouetted and sashayed to composer Son Lux's rendition, which includes Thomas' poems In My Craft or Sullen Art and an extract from Lament. From literally flying on stage to performing mundane task-like movements, the act was a tribute to Thomas' conflicting emotions of passion and ambition on one hand and the despondency and insecurities that constantly plagued him on the other.Image 2nd

"Petronio and Naharin create an atmosphere that provides the audience with individual insights and interpretations. This tour has been about getting personal, both poetically and expressively," said Ann Sholem, artistic director of the National Dance Company Wales. "Stephen was representing his own as well as Thomas' voice through Singing Light," she said.

Sponsored by the British Council, Wales Arts International and the Welsh Government, the company began their tryst with India last year by collaborating with STEM Dance Kampni, Bangalore, for DanceFLUENCE, a two-week-long workshop.

"We're here to represent Wales as a young, forward-looking country," Sholem said, adding, "We are also international, our company has dancers from all over the world, and we believe in this art form's power to bring people together."

As part of their India tour, they held workshops and discussions on contemporary jazz and possible fusions with India's traditional dances. They held classes with Ashley Lobo's Danceworx in Delhi, among others. "The NDC Wales dancers were surprised to see us perform jazz. We learnt quite a bit from them too," said Blossom D'Souza, a dancer with Danceworx.

Sholem said the company will continue to commission international choreographers for their tours. She also said they would love to keep coming back to India, since "we have a shared love for the performing arts".

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