Choreographer Raka Maitra concludes beautifully a triple choreographic inquiry into the world of Odissi (classical Indian dance) with Pallavi with Stillness. Previously, Maitra successfully explored space in Pallavi and Space and the complicated rhythms of Odissi in Pallavi in Time.
For this performance the bodies are grounded, the ensemble of five seems incredibly focused and looks elegant holding everything dear as the slow-motion movement lets me see the bodies in their plenitude. In this Pallavi, stillness allows the audience to witness every single movement of the torso as Maitra decides to break down and slow the dance material that is often performed at a faster tempo.
The company moves downstage with an identical ripple motion of the spine. It’s seductive, elegant and intriguing. I feel enchanted by this magical moment. Swiftly, I also become aware of my body as If I am staring at a group of five sculptures alone in an art gallery, I feel invited to observe the smallest details: legs widening and increasingly bringing the pelvis closer to the floor as the subtle rotation of five heads in unison becomes sufficient to enchant my mind.
The piece evolves into a wild and flirtatious stamping rhythm and the ensemble gathers in a composition that spins 360 degrees while the bodies continually shift positions and capture the empty spaces left in between one another, but what really stands out in this instant is the mass movement more so than the intricate small detail, like a human-helix spiraling down in the deep ocean. It’s magical.
Pallavi with Stillness is undeniably beautiful and the focus is impeccable leading me to see past traditional steps and arrive into a state of reverie. I am left with the soft sounds of ghungroos ( bells strapped around the ankles) as the dancers migrate slowly into the darkness. This performance lets me feel as though I am waking up from a magical dream. Did this really happen?