Fifteen pairs of feet performed together in such a synchronised manner that the audience just heard one pair of feet and a single beat
What if our everyday life was a choreographed dance performance set to music?
Watching the 15-member ensemble of the Contemporary Dance Theatre from Brigham Young University put up ‘Rhythm of Life’, an American contemporary dance performance at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, was as close as one could get to that hypothesis.
Using commonplace, yet universal themes such as love, play, work and suffering, they showcased a repertoire of American contemporary dance which included hip-hop, swing and the step to name a few.
Dawn to dusk
From the time the lights came on, the audience was glued to the 10 different compositions performed by the troupe.
Set to the Arabian Waltz by Yo-Yo Ma with Silk Road Ensemble, six dancers or ‘movers’ as they liked to call themselves, began the evening with All in a Day, a composition that helped the audience journey from dawn to dusk as the dancers creatively explored the mundane routine in all our lives.
An audio-visual clip that played at the end of each performance essayed the role of a narrator introducing the audience to the next performance.
Fling Flang Flung was a walk down memory lane where hand in hand, the dancers gave us a glimpse of swing, a dance form that began in the African-American communities, generally performed to jazz tunes.
Wheel of life
As a counter to the upbeat mood, Dance of Remembrance, from Woman, the Pioneer was a testimonial through dance to “women of faith and courage”. Three female dancers beautifully portrayed aspects of motherhood, displaying hope and faith as the predominant themes of this composition.
Before the sombre mood could set in, Life’s a Bench, the next performance was a celebration of togetherness and the setting could have been a community or just a playground. This performance also saw the use of the bench as a prop. Full of awe-inspiring moments, the dancers entertained the audience with their flexibility and technique.
This was followed by Chakra or what the narrator called Bounce — a depiction of how opposing forces create a sense of equilibrium. With skilfully orchestrated movements, jumps and the use of the wheel as a prop, the dancers conveyed themes of karma, balance and destiny.
“You’ll never look at your mattress the same way again,” is what the programme brochure said about the next performance. And Do Not Remove Under Penalty Of Law definitely was all about how creatively the prop — the mattress in this case — could be used. Applauding and at the edge of their seats, the audience was seen thoroughly enjoying this performance where mattresses became blue and red mail boxes, sofas, bean bags and doors.
The gumboots of the dancers held the audience’s attention during the penultimate performance as the hall watched Steppin in utter silence. Popularly called C-step or ‘gumboot’ dance, this performance was all about creating dance and music with feet. Well-rehearsed and performed, 15 pairs of feet performed together in such a synchronised manner that the audience just heard one pair of feet and a single beat.
Rhythm of Life ended with a celebratory piece that was a fitting closing to the evening. At the end of it, the audience were on their feet appreciating how well the ensemble performed to the beat.
Organised by the International Music and Arts Society, the performance was part of the India-tour by the dance group.