IT WAS a sight to behold at the Malaysian gala premiere of Rasa Unmasked at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) on Tuesday.
The dance performance, Sutra Dance Theatre’s latest project, is a collaboration between our country’s very own Indian dance maestro Ramli Ibrahim and Indian dance icon Anandavalli’s Lingalayam company from Australia, alongside ethnomusicologist/composer Alex Dea.
The dance explores India’s aesthetic theory of the core human emotions, which are divided into nine rasas: sringara (love), veera (heroism), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonderment), hasya (mirth), bhaya (terror), bibhatsa (disgust), raudra (anger), and shanta (serenity).
The guests of honour at the gala were the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah and Sultanah of Pahang Sultanah Kalsom.
Also present were Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Yayasan Seni Berdaftar founder Toh Puan Mahani Idris Daim.
According to Ramli, the dance is a contemporary work that everybody would be able to grasp.
“Rasa is a subject matter all Indian dancers explore. We have interpreted it differently, though; from the wonderment of birth to the serenity ... it is very refined.
“Rasa is very universal and the worth of the work is measured in how much you would feel,” he said.
He said the work involved tonality, “like in love, there is suffering”, and the dance tried to convey those emotions to the audience.
Rasa Unmasked runs until tomorrow at the KLpac in Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.
It will then be performed at Dewan Sri Penang in Penang on April 15 before moving on to runs in Singapore and India (from April 19 to 28).
For details, call KLPac at 03-4047 9000 or the Sutra Dance Theatre at 03-4023 2548. For the Penang show, call Michele at 016-457 0221.