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Lotus & Phoenix II

Lotus & Phoenix II, presented by Nayika Indian Dance at the Redfern Community Centre, showcased two great Asian cultures, Indian and Chinese, without compromising the quality or distinctive identity of either reports the South Sydney Herald May 2008.

Traditional Sizhu ensemble music, which featured the fine operatic voice of Cheng Hong Yu accompanied by Tony Wheeler on the ruan (Chinese string instrument), by itself was a treat for an audience rarely exposed to this kind of music. Tony also improvised in an Indian raga to the complex drumming of the talented Bala Sankar on the mridangam (South Indian drum).

Dancers Vimala Sarma and Shoko Nagafuchi, Vimala’s Japanese student, performed a repertoire of classical Kuchipudi dances, again not usually seen. Vimala Sarma performed a traditional piece showcasing all the elements of the style – fast-paced pure dance sequences, a Sanskrit verse and expressive hand-gestures to the song ‘The goddess with lotus-petal eyes’ as well as a mimed narrative sequence, while Shoko, displaying her training both in ballet as well as classical Indian dance, performed a slow, exquisite piece showing the poses of Shiva in the costume of a Brahmin priest from the temple at Chidambaram.

Vimala recently returned from India after performing at the Music and Dance Festival in India, where she won acclaim. Two of the dance pieces were to live music with Aruna Parthiban’s singing, Bala Sankar on the mridangam and Tony Wheeler on the clarinet playing South Indian music. Vimala’s introductions to the pieces with hand gestures made them instantly accessible and understandable to an appreciative audience.

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2008