On Saturday, April 14, Natya presented the world premiere of PUSHED TO THE EDGE, which was created in collaboration with Mordine and Company Dance Theater, one of Chicago's oldest and most critically acclaimed contemporary dance companies. The premiere took place at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie and generated a positive response from members of the diverse audience. Here are a few comments taken from our audience survey:
Great concert, great performance!
Very creative piece.
Dancing was excellent. I loved the melding of the two cultures and dance movements.
What a wonderful and interesting combo of dance forms. Loved it!
Thanks for the beautiful and unique performances.
Ravikiran was wonderfully true to his Carnatic musical roots. The fusion of this with George Brooks's Jazz saxophone was wonderful!
PUSHED TO THE EDGE deals with the timely subject of cross cultural interaction, exploring the challenges and opportunities of defining identity in today's multicultural world. Having received its successful world premiere, the show now enters Natya's touring repertory. Its subject matter will be compelling and relevant for diverse audiences at colleges and universities, as well as main stream performance venues.
If you'd like to see what the show looked like, check out these pictures, which only hint at the beauty of this groundbreaking production. This link also takes you some great video footage that was shot during rehearsals and that shows how the production brought together diverse elements, including the music of acclaimed Indian composer, Chitravina Ravikiran, and San Francisco-based Jazz saxophonist, George Brooks.
We had some questions at the time of the performance about whether the Natya dancers were performing classical Bharata Natyam. While all of Natya's work is rooted in this 2,000-year-old form of dance theater, what you saw Saturday was quite different from a classical Bharata Natyam repertory. For a look at that, check out this excerpt from Natya's award-winning production of SHAKTI CHAKRA - THE ENERGY CYCLE. Pretty different from PUSHED TO THE EDGE, right? But also revealing important similarities with respect to core movement vocabulary, gesture, and so on. PUSHED TO THE EDGE reflects Natya's commitment to taking Bharata Natyam in new and innovative directions, without compromising its classical rigor. All of the Natya Company members who appeared in PUSHED TO THE EDGE have trained at the Natya Dance Theatre School for ten years or more, developing a high level of skill in the areas of pure dance as well as emotional expression or abhinaya.
The World Premiere of PUSHED TO THE EDGE is supported in part by Audience Architects' New Stages for Dance program. Leadership support for the New Stages for Dance Initiative is provided by Dance/USA and the MetLife Foundation.
Support has also been provided by a Special Project Grant from The Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency.