“We’ve never performed on a raked stage in our lives before”. So said Aditi Mangaldas, during a brief moment where she sat at the edge of the stage to talk to us.
Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company
Royal Lyceum Theatre
Star rating: * * * *
At first, it felt strange - ripping down the fourth wall isn’t something most dance companies do, especially not mid-way through a piece. But then this is Kathak, not ballet.
In another circumstance, dancers performing this Indian classical dance style would have already spoken to the audience to explain their intentions. Mangaldas chose to speak to us after we’d already had a chance to make our own minds up about the work.
But back to that raked stage which, at the Lyceum, is quite sharp. Twenty four hours earlier, Mangaldas and her eight fellow dancers had rehearsed on one for the first time – so the speed of movement they managed during their debut visit to the Edinburgh International Festival, is quite something.
Kathak is known for its rhythmic quality, with pounding feet generating a sound all their own. In Uncharted Seas, this was aided by shimmering ankle bells, that glistened in Sander Loonen’s exquisite lighting design.
In fact, lighting played a big part throughout, and helped convey Mangaldas’ desire to move this ancient artform forward.
Timeless confirmed her intentions, with all traditional dress and paraphernalia shunned in favour of simple silk grey suits. With spins so fast it made you dizzy just watching them, the lack of tight unison sometimes jarred. But again, this is Kathak, not ballet – and everyone is an individual.