A Bollywood-style love saga

It is a story about love. Just like any Bollywood story,” says Martin Harriague, choreographer of the contemporary dance performance Black Pulp that opened the festival ‘Danse Dialogue’ in the City recently.

The second edition of The Indo-French Festival of Contemporary Dance kicked off with its first performance that spoke of love as a necessity of life and depicted the challenges that lovers undergo in their relationship. On a pitch dark stage, a boy and a girl dressed in black costumes repeat several movements which might seem incomprehensible to a lay man. However, by the climax, the picture gets clear and the tale of two lovers comes across as a Bollywood story presented through contemporary moves.

“Having lost a job, friends and a lover after the closure of Noord Nederlandse Dans,
I wanted to express my anger and sadness but, at the same time, deliver a message of hope. Thus ‘Black Pulp’ was born. I didn’t want to simply entertain and make the audience laugh or make it too simple for them to understand and thus chose it to be dark,” explains Martin who performed the choreographed piece along with his partner Lior Spector from
Compagnie Xin.

While Lior represented the fragility of a woman in the first half, she soon transforms into a dominating one that is symbolised by her placing her hands on her head like a crown. “I am the queen,” says Lior who matches steps with Martin with ease and agility.

Their choreography includes many jerky movements that only emphasise the hurdles that two people in love face in life. Not to miss, there is a generous use of words that describe the couple’s state of mind. This is a result of Martin’s collaboration with Derrick Brown, an American beat poet which adds to the performance, just like the intelligent use of light.

In a certain section, the stage is lit in bright red – “the colour of love and fire”. When everything around them is burning “including all the beautiful moments and memories are fading away, it is then that hope seeps in,” says Martin referring to the realisation that
occurs in human mind about prevalence of “hope even in times of distress.”

Martin has named the piece as ‘Black Pulp’ because, “It refers to the duality of a relationship. On the bright side it is luscious and succulent like the pulp of a fruit and on the other, it presents your darkest side.”

To the audience, the name is literally extended to other elements such as the costume and stage in portraying distress till the final light of ‘hope’ falls on the couple and they lie down in peace.

“We fall to stand up better. In each challenge that life gives us in its struggles, there is happiness hidden,” Martin elucidates as the parallels between happy ending in Bollywood tales and his performance appear explicitly.      

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