Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Milan 2019 a taste of Bollywood

Published:Thursday | July 18, 2019 | 12:21 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
‘Raasathi En Usuru’, choreographed by Gopa Ramani.
Stacy Nelson dances Gopa Ramani’s ‘Aayat’.
Anjali dance group performs ‘Chiroseekha’, choreographed by Gopa Ramani.
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Colourful backdrop, coupled with spectacular set and costumes, reinforced the creatively bold choreographies at Saturday’s staging of Milan 2019. It was the Anjali dancers’ 11th season, and it could be best described as a showpiece of India, and Indian-influenced dance movements. A full house was in attendance at the Philip Sherlock Centre, University of the West Indies, Mona, for the experience.

The choreographers included Anjali founder and artistic director Gopa Ramini, Vanshika and Latha, Sodanne Brown, Sherine Bailey, and Sangeetha Dayanand. The Anjali dancers were supported by guests Hopefield Prep, Portmore Dance Company, Mona Prep, BEAM Dance Company and St Andrew Prep.

As expected, the colourful affair began with a Ramini choreography, Chiroseekha, a spiritual dance drama performed by the Anjali dancers. From its distinct, classical Indian movements, well-designed set, eye-catching, ethnic costumes to the precision and grace of the dancers, the presentation was beautifully executed.

Ramini’s strong influence by Bollywood’s vibrancy in set and costumes designs continued in her other standout pieces, the creatively bold rope duet dance, Aayat, the intriguing dance drama Raasathi Enusuru, and Monica, Oh My Darling and Jallah Wallah.

Except for Aayat and Jallah Wallah, the Anjali and Portmore Dance Company were entrusted with the execution of the choreographer’s concepts. They did so with convincing body control and polite extensions.

Brown and Bailey tried to stay true to the Bollywood theme, but added fun and more energy to the programme.

Bailey, along with her St Andrew Preparatory School dancers, delivered more than a dance in her choreographed Nature. It was a call to save the planet. With the aid of backdrop and appropriate costumes, the powerful dance showed an earth with plenty, then moving dramatically to illustrate its destruction. In her second dance, Bailey continued with her messaging. In this case, the message was to save the children. It was told through a wonderful concept, Cheerleading.

There were two pieces choreographed by Brown. The first was an illustration of a high-energy, untitled piece. Not surprising the dance received loud applause from the informed audience. The members of Brown’s company, BEAM, returned in the second half of the programme, to dance a more controlled Chote Chote Peg.

Vanishka and Latha’s choreographed Bollywood not only showed that the younger generation is being exposed to the rich Indian tradition, but it also had the largest group of dancers on stage. Nonetheless, this talented group of dancers from Hopefield Preparatory School gave a pleasing performance. Dayanand’s choreography, Rowdy Baby, saw three young dancers putting smiles on the faces of all.

Overall, Milan 2019 was a successful venture. It was also a reminder, as Jamaica marches closer to another Independence anniversary, that the motto is truly “Out of Many, One People”.