Rasa Unmasked

rasa-unmasked

It’s been awhile for me to enter a theater for a dance show.

But I know I can’t miss this piece of Ramli Ibrahim’s Rasa Unmasked (Click to find the link).

The show, presented in conjunction with Australia Month @ KLPac, is the result of collaborative efforts between 3 pioneers of classical art forms in contemporary contexts:

  • Australia’s Anandavalli & Lingalayam Dance Company;
  • Malaysia’s Ramli Ibrahim and Sutra Dance Company and
  • Alex Dea, long-time traditional Indonesian music composer and performer.

Rasa Unmasked is a sensuous, contemporary dance work that sheds new light on India’s most vital aesthetic theory.

The work tried to establish common ground between Indian and Indonesian (Jawanese) cultures through the blending of sounds, the contemporary interpretation of classical dance forms, and rasa, or emotions. The universality of these three elements transcends racial and geographical barriers.

In particular, the work expounds the rasa theory and quite literally explores emotions such as adbhuta (wonderment), sringara (love), veera (valour), karuna (compassion), hasya (laughter), bibhatsa (disgust), bhaya (fear), raudra (anger), and shanta (serenity).

The performance is good and the  dancers generally put up a commendable performance with the senior dancers carrying the rasa more profoundly than the younger ones.

The 8 dancers are accompanied by a cross-cultural orchestra, led by Alex on traditional Javanese vocals and rebab with  Indian Carnatic vocalist, Aruna Parthiban and Indian classical Tabla drummer, Bala Sanker.

I applaud the concept and idea behind Rasa Unmasked, although I am not able to feel some of the rasa and not entirely moved by the performance.

However, I was extremely impressed with the lighting arrangement and the truly wonderful vocalist, Aruna.  I can’t believe the amazing music & songs were just presented by three of them- Alex, Aruna and Bala.

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