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Priti Patel’s Black Swan, in association with t2, flew high

Ishano, The Black Swan, The Chosen One, a Priti Patel dance production, organised by Anjika, in association with t2, was held at Kala Mandir on Saturday at 7pm. The performance included live music and the ancient Manipuri martial art form Thang-ta. Based on Manipuri dance traditions, the production infused lines from Tagore in English, like an excerpt from Ekla cholo re. Flutes, drums, pena and cymbals were used to create the magical world of swans. Pristine white swans, when faced with a black one, played by Priti, refuse to include her in their group. Later, however, she is welcomed into the bevy. When male white swans (cobs) attack and capture one female white swan, the “outcast”gives herself up. She doesn’t fight, yet retains a strong inner conviction. Her gesture and conduct gradually soften the male swans and transform them.

Music was a strong and evocative part of the production. The use of flute to portray the pain of the lonely black swan was apt and appreciated by the audience. Drum beats and strong dance moves brought out the aggression of the male swans. Props were used intelligently, and when the male swans tie the black one with ropes (which drop from the ceiling), the effect was mesmeric. There were cheers when she broke free.

“She breaks out of the stereotypical ordinary existence. The black swan brings about a change with love and gentleness,” explained Priti. In the last sequence, there is a costume change, and all the swans take the stage in black outfits. They have been touched by the black swan. “Like her, they also decide to be harbingers of change,” said Priti.

Debarati Chakraborty