The Daksha Sheth Dance Company’s Sari combines aerial acrobatics, traditional and modern dance styles, live music, and stunning visuals into a vibrant and energetic performance. Based on its namesake Indian garment, the show seeks to tell a story from the harvesting of silk, through spinning and weaving and dying and finally into the diverse and personal ways saris can be worn within Indian culture. While Sari lacks the attention to detail which would make it a truly exceptional spectacle, it nevertheless delivers an immersive and beautiful performance, topped off by an appearance by Daksha Sheth herself.
The hour-long performance is divided into numerous short “acts,” each to do with the process of making a sari. This format creates an array of pieces which are vastly different from each other, whilst still cohering to the overarching theme. The individual acts vary not only in length, mood, and literalism, but also in quality. Two particular pieces stand out as lowlights: the ‘dyeing’ dance, which consists apparently of dancers throwing pieces of fabric around the stage, and a piece during which the dancers are mostly hidden behind drapes whilst a distracting video is projected on top of frankly unimaginative choreography. Alongside these, there are also some stunning acts, such as a call and response body-percussion section between three dancers, one of whom then continues into an astonishing solo. The microphone system makes the entire theatre resound with the dancers’ clapping, stamping, slapping and clicking. Another particularly memorable act is an aerial duet, in which the dancers interact effortlessly with the silks and with each other, sweeping seamlessly across the stage in a romantic and stunning pas de deux.
Perhaps the weakest part of the show is the projected text used to introduce each act. Even when it isn’t rendered entirely illegible by hanging props, the cartoon font greatly undermines the professionalism displayed elsewhere in the lighting and set design. Projections are used throughout the performance, often very seamlessly: a closeup video of a weaver’s hands, for example, looms on the backdrop whilst dancers on stage represent threads, and the rhythm of the weaver’s work is emphasised by the on-stage drummer. The sets are likewise largely successful, save the curtain of knotted ropes which hangs at the front of the stage for about the first third of the show and is rarely utilized. The most outstanding of a variety of textile-inspired props are elastic strings attached to dancers in an impressive, marionette-like group piece.
Pieces that capitalize on the diversity between dancers are the strongest. For example, a gorgeous act comprising of three couples illustrates different ways a woman can wear a sari. Less successful are attempts at exact timing: group dances clearly meant to be danced in unison rarely are (this is particularly evident in the group body-percussion section), and attempted canons always fall slightly flat. The woman who is featured as a lead in many of the pieces (and, incidentally, is Ms. Sheth’s daughter) is an absolute delight to watch: her every movement embodies both character and refinement and whenever she is on stage it is difficult to watch anyone else. If all of the dancers had her stage presence and training, the choreography might be much more effective. But, the show’s shortcomings only prevent it from being excellent—it is still an enthralling experience. Ranging from hypnotic to playful acheter du cialis en ligne to sensual, Sari takes the audience on a colourful and dynamic tour of the weaver’s art and is entirely worth seeing.
Guest Reviewer: Aliza Razell Hoover