Venue Details

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GALA Hispanic Theatre
at Park Rd. NW 3333 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20010
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 GALA Hispanic Theatre is pleased to present the Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company in their performance of Frida and Homenaje a David Alfaro Siqueiros. Dakshina will also perform Vasanth, a fusion work of Bharatanatyam and modern dance. This evening of Latino, modern, and Indian dance is made possible by a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and marks the first time Homenaje a David Alfaro Siqueiros has been performed since its 1984 commissioning premiere in the Palacio de las Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

“I am thrilled to be performing at the GALA Theatre to showcase these three dances, which each involve a colorful use of visual design and projections along with explosive dancing,” said Daniel Phoenix Singh, founder of Dakshina. “These works are especially relevant as they bring together Hispanic, American and Indian cultural traditions using dance, art and poetry.”

GALA Producing Artistic Director Hugo Medrano is also delighted to present Dakshina, stating, “Some of our best Hispanic arts traditions, such as flamenco, actually stem from Indian dance. We look forward to presenting this interesting and engaging artistic experience.”

The first two works Dakshina will perform are by American modern dance pioneer Anna Sokolow. Sokolow lived in Mexico for a brief period, and Dakshina is working with Lorry May, director of the Sokolow Dance Foundation, to stage her remembrance of her time spent there. Frida, which Dakshina staged as part of their Clarice Smith Center engagement in 2010, sketches the famed Mexican painter’s life from her vibrant, carefree youth, to her conflict ridden love/hate relationship with Diego Riviera, to the painful and slow end of her life. The dance is particularly adept at sketching the various characters that Frida saw in herself, and portrays her as a complex and strong person. Sokolow’s__ Frida__ comes across as a powerful and introspective person who experienced all of life’s emotions keenly, and never shied away from living her life fully under all circumstances.

The second Sokolow dance commemorates the life of Mexican muralist and activist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Known for his scathing social commentary, Siqueiros was a leader of the activist artist community in 20th century Mexico. This interdisciplinary work uses slides from Siqueiros’s powerful murals and paintings, poems by Pablo Neruda, Rafael Alberti, Paul Eluard, and Rodolfo Mier Tonche, and a vibrant musical score by Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chávez and Rafael Elizondo. Sokolow Dance Foundation director Lorry May has upped the ante by requesting Dakshina dancers to recite the poems as part of the performance instead of using voiceovers; this is another first for the Dakshina dancers, who are not only using their voices on stage for the first time, but will be doing so in Spanish.

The third piece of the evening is Vasanth, an original choreography by Daniel Phoenix Singh that explores the Indian myth of how spring descends to earth when Siva’s intense mediation causes the seasons to stop their cycles. Singh has incorporated the expressive mime, gestures and rhythms of Bharata Natyam into a dynamic modern dance landscape of group choreography and lush, earthy movement. Visual designs by Adrian Galvin serve as an abstract backdrop to this dynamic work. Given that classical Indian dance is the root of flamenco (Roma Gypsies brought it to Spain through their Eurasia travels), the familiar arm and hand movements and thrumming rhythms of Vasanth will make flamenco fans dance in their seats.

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