A twirl in time

A twirl in time

Suspended in silence, the rhythmic beats bounced off the walls and echoed throughout the auditorium. But never did they fail to keep pace with the nimble footsteps of the dancers. As the chime of ‘ghungroos’ and taps of flamenco shoes clashed, dancers Akram Khan and Israel Galvan showcased a unique understanding of the art as part of the ninth edition of ‘The Park’s New Festival’. The performance, ‘Torobaka’, was presented by British Council in association with Prakriti Foundation at Chowdiah Memorial Hall recently.


A take off from a Maori-inspired phonetic poem by Tristan Tzara called ‘Toto-vaca’, it blended two dance forms, kathak and flamenco, to make an expressive and detailed artistic piece. While Akram Khan has roots in kathak, Israel Galvan is known for his proficiency in flamenco; and they found common ground in contemporary forms of movement. Unhindered by territory, they shifted between the various forms to bring out a guttural (at first) and commanding showcase.

Rather than basic mimicry, they used mimesis to represent and understand dance, which has gone from simple gestures and vocalisation to something that is filled with meaning and is functional. Showcasing a time before every word was layered with multiple understandings, evocative movements are used by a hunter, who imitates the gait of the animals he is out to hunt.

The live music added to the telling of the tale — the voices of David Azurza from Tolosa and Christine Leboutte from Brussels vibrated in deep, while Bobote, who grew up with flamenco tablao shows, added a quick spin and kept rhythm as a palmero (rhythm-clapper). But it was Bernhard Schimpelsberger, a drummer and percussionist from Austria, who put a smile on the audiences face as he kept beat in Hindustani classical music style.

All in all, it was an evening of excellent flamenco moves, quick footwork and an unending tinkling of well-trained bells.

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