Decreasing Infinity @ Dance Base

Beats and Pieces

Article by Betty Lightbulb | 09 Aug 2011

Balbir Singh balances Decreasing Infinity on a fascinating dichotomy of north Indian classical dance and more contemporary choreographic styles. Reinforced by a musical tension - between Glasgow's legendary beatboxer Big Taj, and a European percussionist on tabla, the east meets west theme is complicated across both music and movement.

Despite featuring four men, there is no sense of stereotypical masculine aggression. The musicians remain seated and focussed on the movement, avoiding a power conflict between them and the dancers. The relationship between the performers is generative rather than merely supportive.

The dancers use their bodies as percussion, creating a physical representation of the rhythm composed and improvised live  by the musicians. The rhythm threading through the dancers’ relationship and the soundtrack lead to the piece being a portrayal of the body as music. The energy builds but a coherent choreographic arc is missing – there being only a single clear shift in dynamic.

With the dancers representing two distinct traditions - Kathak and American Modern Dance technique, following Cunningham - Singh's intention is to push the styles closer together until "something new is formed." Yet despite a welcome brief moment of partnering, the dancers remain within their own traditions and separate. While both dancers are slick and strong, the techniques never interweave but merely co-exist.


Double bill with Falling Man Dance Base 5- 21 Aug 2011, various times