la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Danza EN (new)

Dance


Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

14 / 15 / 16 June at 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 p.m.
St. George's Anglican Church, Venice
SHOBANA JEYASINGH DANCE   (Great Britain)
TooMortal  (world premiere)
concept, choreography, direction Shobana Jeyasingh
costumes Ursula Bombshell
sound artist Cassiel
commissioned by Dance Umbrella (London), la Biennale di Venezia, Dansens Hus (Stockholm) as part of the ENPARTS – European Network of Performing Arts project
with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Commission
 
Pioneer of a “plural” dance (as it has been effectively defined by Elisa Vaccarino) – the type of dance born out of the world without borders of contemporary globalization and the product of different cultural contributions – Shobana Jeyasingh fuses the classic Indian tradition of the Bharatanatyam with the language of Western dance. A trend that started on the shores of the English Channel, when Shobana moved from Madras (today’s Chennai) to London in 1981. At the end of those years she founded the company named after her, which made its debut with a quartet of women dancers in Configurations, to music by Michael Nyman, a composer with whom she would establish a long-lasting collaboration. The company later expanded to include other dancers, introducing male dancers as well, but remained loyal to the principle of multiple languages.
 
Shobana comes to Venice to the Biennale for the first time with TooMortal, a work that reads as an intimate consideration on mankind, and for this reason, in Venice as in London and in Stockholm, where it will tour, it will be performed each time in a different place of worship. In her presentation notes, Shobana writes: “The church is constitutionally the place where man is necessarily led to reflect on his own mortality; this work therefore explores man’s fragility and resiliency, the transience of the individual before the eternity of life in a contemplative and sacred space par excellence. Conceived in and for a devotional space, TooMortal  is a work laden with atmosphere, inspired by the dramatic architecture of the place, and the movement highlights, by contrast, and at the same time integrates the rhythm and space of these historic buildings. Exploring the concept of the church as a sanctuary, the piece offers pause for meditation, intimate and thoughtful with respect to the terrifying chaos of the outside world”.
 
Presented in its world premiere performance in Venice for the 8th International Festival of Contemporary Dance, the result of an international co-production with Dance Umbrella in London and Dansen Hus in Stockholm, partners with the Biennale in the European project ENPARTS (European Network of Performing Arts), the production will be performed in the St. George's Anglican Church in Campo San Vio, Venice. It will later be performed in the Anglican churches of London, in St. Mary’s Old Church (28 > 30 June), the only example of Elizabethan church in the capital, in St. Pancras Church (12 > 14 July), in Bloomsbury, one of London’s most eminent neighbourhoods; then in Worcester, in St. Swithun’s Church (19 > 21 July), one of the earliest examples of Georgian architecture to reach us intact today; and finally in September in Stockholm and Belgrade, in places of worship yet to be confirmed.