South Asian dance companies to take centre stage at east London’s Ensemble Festival
Amina Khayyam Dance Company will present You & Me, created from women’s stories, while the Sonia Sabri Company’s Mughal Miniatures – The Awakening is inspired by traditional Indian and Persian miniature paintings
Dance performances by two south Asian companies are among the highlights at east London’s Ensemble Festival next week.
Amina Khayyam Dance Company will present You&Me, created from women’s stories, while the Sonia Sabri Company’s Mughal Miniatures – The Awakening is inspired by traditional Indian and Persian miniature paintings.
They will be staged at the Ensemble Festival at Royal Docks from July 19-23.
Khayyam explores same-sex relationships from a south Asian feminist perspective, a statement from East London arts organisation Certain Blacks said.
You&Me was developed via workshops with community groups where women shared real-life experiences of marriages where their partner could not express his sexuality.
These experiences were developed into a performance featuring LGBTQ+ dancers Shyam Dattani and Giacomo Pini, the statement added.
You&Me features a live score from musicians Debasish Mukherjee on tabla, composer Jonathan Mayer on tenor sitar and Iain McHugh on cello.
The choreography combines contemporary dance with Kathak.
Khayyam said, “Bringing dance and the storytelling form of Kathak together allows me to confront many of the political and cultural baggages of our communities.
“Certain Blacks Ensemble Festival and the Without Walls tour is giving us an opportunity to bring kathak to new audiences.”
Mughal Miniatures – The Awakening features evocative scenes from Indian princely courts of the Mughal period with a contemporary twist with dancers moving within giant frames.
Sabri said, “This is a luscious experience of stunning dance, storytelling, music, ornate costumes and sets for people of all ages and backgrounds to relish. Mughal Miniatures is vibrant, fun and interactive dance theatre, with stories that are close to home and but also with several twists and surprises.
“The artisans of these ancient paintings, journeying from Persia to India and beyond, demonstrated how people of different lands and faiths were able to unite to create beautiful artwork which celebrated life and the world around them. For me, it is the Instagram of its time.”
Indian and Persian miniatures originated in Persia, often gifted alongside commissioned poetry or song by artists, scholars or painters as a way to commemorate successes of the royal courts. Sometimes dance went with these paintings.