Elixir, the second work from Sadhana Dance, sees choreographer and artistic director Subathra Subramaniam continuing to navigate the confluence of arts and science. Elixir dives deep into our cultural relationship with water in a world where its scarcity is an ever increasing-problem.
Evocative and provocative, Elixir combines contemporary choreography, a powerful visual art installation, digital projection and original music with live song.
It comes out of Subramaniam’s own experiences in India and the High Arctic, as a science teacher in urban London and education director of the Cape Farwell climate change project, and in particular her time with Inuit communities in Nunavut Canada and Greenland.
“’Thousands have lived without love, not one without water’. It’s the final line of WH Auden’s First Things First. Water is the first thing, the basis for all life and all our lives…yet because it’s so everyday and everywhere we rarely give it a second thought. Elixir will, I hope, help us not only appreciate how miraculous and essential water is but also that it is a rapidly dwindling resource. Whether it’s the effects of melting ice on Inuit communities I have spent time with in the Arctic, falling levels in sacred water tanks at Hindu temples in India or local streams running dry here in the UK, everywhere I look there are signs of how our relationship with water is changing and affecting people’s lives.”
Subramaniam has teamed up her long-term collaborators, the composers and visual artists Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden. Together, they have created a powerful audio-visual experience which immerses the audience in the beauty and sound of water. Drawing from the rich vocabulary of Bharata Natyam, four dancers interweave movements of rituals, play and daily practices to explore struggles and survival, scarcity and instability.
Each performance of Elixir will be followed by a Cafe Scientifique where Quentin Cooper, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Material World, will chair a discussion between the artists and scientists involved in the show and the audience.
Alongside the stage performance is a visual art installation featuring specially commissioned works by the award-winning sculptor Josh Baum Co-commissioned by The Place, South East Dance and Activate Performing Arts. Supported by Akademi, The Point, UCL Environment Insitute and Arts Council through Grants for the Arts.
Concept and Artistic Direction – Subathra Subramanian
Choreography – Subathra Subramaniam – from original movement material devised by the dancers
Dancers – Elena Jacinta, Veena Basavarajaiah and Archana Ballal
Live vocals- Devised and sung by Divya Kasturi
Music and digital projection for dance and installation – Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden
Musicians – Sarah Moody – Cello Bangalore Prathap – Ghatam, Mridangam, Kanjera Joanna Harvey – Violin Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden – All other instruments and sounds
Dramaturgy – Chris Fogg
Overall set and costume design – Kate Rigby
Sculptor – Josh Baum
Lighting design and hanging set – Aideen Malone
Production manager – Allan Ramsey
Technician – Sam Hall
Photography – Mark Pepperall
Design – Hot Pepper Design Ltd
Cafe Scientifique – Quentin Cooper
Scientific Advisors – Mark Maslin and Tse Hui Teh
PR – Martha Oakes PR
Administration – Louise Bowles