by KC Weakley · August 20, 2014
Tejas Luminous is a delicious series of dances in a style derived from the classical dances of southern India. Srinivasan, in her Artistic Statement says that the dances are inspired by questions and feelings regarding spirituality. The dances are a physical response to the rituals of prayer. Her constant question: ‘am I one with this fervent group or am I alone in my disbelief?’ ‘The movement vocabulary [for] Tejas stems from Bharatanatyam and Yoga traditions, and is influenced by American contemporary dance.’
I claim no knowledge of or experience with these spiritual traditions or this dance vocabulary. I am, however, fascinated by the experience and transmission of emotions through movement.
The seven movements of the dance are ordered by the time of day and a specific ragam (melody) or specific emotions, activities or prayers: Afternoon brings lively beauty - a rhythmic and stylized expression - four dancers in complex unison movements - romantic; Dusk becomes a conversation between dancers - modern and lyrical, overlapping, stretching, condensing rhythms and movements; Evening heralds secretive and mysterious rituals - white pleats and chrysanthemums; Night portrays the heroine (Srinivasan) awaiting her beloved Krishna, describing multitudes of emotions; Dawn – a trio of dancers - brings yogic awakening; Morning celebrates lightness and joy – full company in tableau vivante with sharp staccato movements; and Day welcomes the workaday world and the uplifting vision of Krishna dancing – joyful expressions of life.
Delightful, passionate, controlled and filled with mysterious symbolism. The faces of the dancers express concise, rich and varied emotions, adding clarity and depth to the intricate movements. Beautiful costumes.
The music for Dusk, Evening, Night and Dawn were commissioned specifically for Tejas.
Tejas Luminous was created in part during the Dance in Queens Residency at the Queens Museum of Art.