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Natya Dance Theatre
The Incomplete Gesture
“My work will explore the various relationships and consequences of miscommunication, using old and new narratives from Indian and Indonesian culture. It is a powerful means of cultural exchange.” –Hema Rajagopalan, Artistic Director
Natya Dance Theatre is the truly treasured Chicago-based Bharata Natyam (dance-theatre of South India) dance company building cultural bridges and promoting universal human values. Natya serves as an agent of cultural preservation, presentation and exchange, and moves the art form in innovative directions to foster cultural exchange through dance. Natya has collaborated with the contemporary Indonesian dance company Nan Jombang to create a dynamic new cross-cultural work: The Incomplete Gesture. This new work explores the tension of misunderstanding and the challenges and gaps in communicating in a variety of relationships. The mythology of India is used as a reference point, but the work stretches further to address the ongoing contemporary saga of communication clashes. The lack of a common cultural vocabulary and struggle to be not only welcomed, but to be understood is the centerpiece of The Incomplete Gesture.
In The Incomplete Gesture, Natya’s geometric, vertical Bharata Natyam meets Nan Jombang’s grounded, controlled, abstract expressiveness. The two companies created a wholly new movement vocabulary incorporating Bharata Natyam’s geometric precision, specific expressional aspects, and complicated rhythmic patterns, and expansive percussive movement and the slow, deliberate, controlled style of Minangkabau (the Indonesian martial art influencing Nan Jombang’s contemporary dance movement).
The Incomplete Gesture expresses the frustration of misunderstanding and communication lapses: gaps that are bridged only when we connect as people committed to loving each other. This is reflected back in the process of collaboration between the two companies: despite different cultures, languages, and movement vocabularies, people can create beauty together when they commit to finding an understanding through whatever communication they can share.
The Incomplete Gesture will be performed to a recording of the original score commissioned for Natya. The Incomplete Gesture has already garnered significant support and interest through the award of a MacArthur Foundation grant for its development and premiere. This performance features 10 dancers, 2 musicians (drummer and vocalist), and is appropriate for all ages with a total runtime of 80 minutes.
Dance at the North Shore Center is supported in part by
Crown Family Philanthropies