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Sangeeta Isvaran

L’amour sacre, l’amour profane - Love, sacred and profane.

Sangeeta Isvaran: "L’amour sacré, l’amour profane - Love, sacred and profane", 17th International Congress on Dance Research, Naxos, 22-26/10, 2003.

Choreographed and performed by Sangeeta Isvaran.

We give and receive, use and abuse love in many ways in our lives. At times ephemeral, at times profound, lighthearted or anguished, sexual or spiritual, love is central to life. Using different art forms from India and Southeast Asia this performance combines traditional dance pieces with contemporary works. From the tradition of Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form from South India, century-old traditional pieces of love for God both erotic and devotional, where God is not just God but also the lover, child or even the customer willing to pay for it. From Indonesia, the tradition of Jai Pongan, used by sex workers to attract men, now a proud beautiful art form combining eroticism and martial art! To modern choreographies on child prostitution based on work with sex workers and sexually abused children, sex tourism being a horrific, unavoidable and shameful reality in Asia using Thai, Burmese and Cambodian dance forms. Love -- deep and profound, lighthearted, a matter-of-fact exchange of money for sex, tearing and abusing body, mind and soul, down to earth or illusory, greedy or generous, rejoicing in the physical or rejecting the materialistic, the spirit reaching out to fly... love has many facets, sacred and profane!

I will perform two excerpts from this hour-long presentation choosing the following pieces:

1. Bhoomi pranam

Salutation to the earth. The performing arts of Asia all draw energy from the earth and it is a common practise to venerate the earth, one’s teachers and the Gods or spirits invoking their blessings before commencing to dance. Offering flowers, touching the forehead to the earth, this particular choreography is inspired by the different relationships each culture bears with the earth, drawing from different traditions and dance techniques, held together by the common bond of reverence and love borne for the earth, the mother.

2. Crushed blossoms, broken wings, hearts yearning to fly

A house named ‘Kiddies Corner’, children laughing and playing in front, not a house to shelter them but to sell them. Child prostitution is horrifyingly common all over the world and sexual tourism is one of the shocking realities in Asia. This piece reflects the life of a young girl, forced into prostitution, rejected by society. A terrible past, a present devoid of hope, a future filled with drugs and most probably AIDS – many children lead destroyed lives.

Ms. Sangeeta Isvaran


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