Neewin Hershall dances to the gods in Rudram. Starting on a climax with ecstatic strength and determination, he presents Bharatanatyam work with a team of fantastic musicians and closes the evening with an emotional flair and tired body.
Rudram is a dance homage to Shiva, and Hershall dances with impeccable determination, attacking the choreography from its core while slowly building up the audience’s expectation to finish off with a standing ovation on his final offering to god, jumping in a circle with the utmost belief and faith.
At moments Hershall’s expression demonstrates a level of ingenuity, inventiveness and imagination found more often in the synergies of a seven-year-old child, giving the audience what they came to see – a magical melodramatic but ceremonious adventure in Bharatanatyam.
The choreography captures the excellent live music at the start of the performance. However, as the piece unfolds into complex sequences of dance, it exposes a negotiation with the musicians that brings uncertainty to the choreography. The latter vanishes after Hershall charges the dance with fast stamping work using agile rhythm to juxtapose the momentum and suspensions in the performance.
Hershall proposes a very emotional solo experience in Rudram, highlighting an unparallel devotion and gift to the gods visible in his enchanting facial expressions – creating a mystical atmosphere on stage.
Dancing Bharatanatyam is a challenging negotiation of dance technique with precise musicality in a theatrical code, leaving no room for improvisation. At times, dancing underscores the music composition, however, shedding light into the smallest details of the narrative.
A black-box is perhaps not the best performance space for Rudram, the devotional dance to the gods sometimes gets lost on the black background.
Hershall navigates his dance material with respect and undeniable passion.