Black Swan in Delhi

When Filippo Delsal first tapped to the beat of the mridangam on stage in Milan,two years back,it did not surprise him.

Written by RICHA BHATIA | Published: January 30, 2011 1:48 am

There were no frilly tutus or conventional symphonic music to leap to. Ballet IPNOS saw Italian dancers striking a pose to mridangam and kanjira

When Filippo Delsal first tapped to the beat of the mridangam on stage in Milan,two years back,it did not surprise him. The 18-year-old strapping Italian ballet dancer was performing at the premiere of IPNOS,a ballet that fuses art and tradition of the Italian Ballet School with the sound of Indian classical music. “It was cool and felt really nice performing to live music. It was only for a moment that I wondered what is this musician doing,singing or playing,” gushed Delsal,a student of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala,Milan.

Two years later,ballet IPNOS opened to a packed audience at Siri Fort auditorium on Saturday,in an event organised by the Embassy of Italy,Italian Cultural Centre. The 16 dancers,all students from Accademia Teatro alla Scala,Milan,on their first visit to India,set out to create the

excitement of smell — that provokes lust,passion and sensuality. Ballet IPNOS dealt with body contact and the “actual smell of sweat and the carnal movements built around it”. “It is a ballet of incense. The inspiration has come from music created by Riccardo Nova,that is sensuous and full of moods,” pronounced the choreographer Davide Bombana,who built a brilliant choreography around it.

Unlike the stuffy symphonic sound of Tchaikovsky,Nova merged the sound of mridangam with that of the cello,to produce a score that alternates the sounds of electronics,sufi voices,percussion and strings. So when 17-year-old Germano Trovato circled the stage with an effortless ease and leapt high to rhythmic sounds,making the slow moving movement look interesting,he wasn’t nervous at all. “It was pretty interesting,initially I had to train my ears to the sound,and I practised to the recorded music,” said Trovato,a rakish boy.

But it was the blonde Sussana,trussed in a skin colour costume,who thrilled the audience with her fluid movements,slowly gravitating towards her partner as he hypnotised her with his smell. There was a sense of wanting and trying to know the person,which she delivered with the use of stillness.

Nova,who has been living in Mysore since 2003,and has studied carnatic music with MT Raja Kesari,shared,“The idea was to capture the fragrance of the spices of the country and the feelings around it. The first time the students heard the music,they got goosebumps.” The conclusion had two girls in tutu break out of powder boxes,enveloping the whole stage with the smell of “innocence”.

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