Review: Song of the City

Review: Song of the City

Review: Song of the City


Haunting dance production brings Tagore alive in an old Victorian vault

(Photo credit: Simon Richardson)

On one of the hottest days in London, a VIP launch night invite for Akademi’s dance production ‘Song of the City’, urged visitors to carry a warm jumper with them. At that time, it seemed a ludicrous idea, but an hour later, I was glad I had heeded the advice.

I was sitting underneath London Bridge tube station, in an old vault which had chipped brick walls, a constant drip-drip of water and periodic rattle of the train passing somewhere above. In this haunting ambience, the only thing missing were the bats.

This doesn’t seem like the obvious choice of venue for a dance production. But that is exactly what made The Vault at Southwark Playhouse such an interesting venue for an even more amazing creative mash up performance. ‘Song of the City’ creatively combined Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry with techno music, digital imagery projected onto the floor and modern choreography that brought together performers of ballet, Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance.

A clever play of lighting and live strains of the clarinet added to the surreal experience at this old Victorian vault, of listening to Tagore’s ‘Ekla cholo re’, the song version of which I had learnt as a child. The enthusiasm and energy-levels of the performers were at such an all-time high that even the thunderous rounds of applause at the end, faded out in comparison.

Sakshi Ojha

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