The award winning National South Asian Youth Dance Company YUVA is winding up its nation-wide tour with a new double bill. The company, which is composed of students of South Asian dance styles aged 17 to 22 aims to bridge traditional and contemporary culture.
India-based choreographer Daksha Sheth uses a poem by bilingual Indian poet Sujata Bhat "In Search of My Tongue" as a starting point for Tongues Untied. "By a coincidence, we both come from Ahmedabad in Gujerat, near Bombay. The poem deals with the plight of children brought up away from home, with no connection with their mother tongue, who want to return to their roots when they grow up."
In India, Sheth drew on her diverse movement tradition from Chhau, Kalaripayattu and Yoga martial arts, folk forms, classical and contemporary dance to create a movement language matched by Devarissaro's hypnotic score for percussion, bansuri (sambal flute) and electronic keyboards overlaid with EnglishGujerati poem fragments.
The piece traces a young woman's search for sustenance in barren terrain, recollecting moments of her life in India: meeting a water seller, at the village station, her mother singing in the kitchen. In a dynamic final section, dancers tangle like long legged sand flies in a paeon to a monsoon sky that yields life giving rain. Sand trickles through fingers in a final moment of "homecoming".
From an an ArmenianAsian background, choreographer Roger Sinha (now based in Vancouver) explores the dilemma of a south Asian growing up rootless in the West. His Dry Land has a quick silver quality that unifies dancers into a terrific ensemble fusing the rhythmic urgency of classical Indian dance with a frenetic tempo of city life. Bally Sagoo's mesmeric, ringing score blends the screech of car breaks, police sirens, the hum of crowds in a haze of glockenspiel and rap. Against this haunting soundscape, shadowy shapes stalk the streets, conjuring up the mystery of the city: its tensions and terrors, its excitements and promise.
YUVA (0274 522059): Abraham Moss Centre, Manchester, tonight (061 795 4186) and Nottingham Playhouse tomorrow (0602 419419).