Whoever thought that dance could address social issues?
Lakshman Balakrishnan did.
With Black File, he addressed the issue of injustice with dance. At the beginning of the dance, sound clips of people saying their names brought the audience into a state of nervousness while three men walked about the stage, occasionally pausing and raising their hands, symbolizing the act of pledge (patriotism) and imprisonment.
Abruptly, the sound clips stopped and in came a progression of rock music, during which their dances included movements of falling and hitting the ground, a symbol of oppression and grievances.
The highlight of the dance was when these three dancers appeared at the left side of the stage, laid on the floor, covered themselves with white cloths (a symbol of death and ironically, peace), and painted themselves with red paint (a symbol of blood). At the right side of the stage were four other dancers who dressed like chefs holding ladles in their hands. In front of these four dancers was a table with a variety of plastic fruits and vegetables, covered with a huge white cloth.
The chefs took away the cloth, looked at their hands while they transferred their ladles from one hand to the other with a fanatic and psychotic look at their faces, and then, with a horrifying and angry glance, they forcefully hit the fruits and vegetables with their ladles four times. This continued for another four times, and quickly, they covered the “spoils” with the white cloth and burst out in an evil laughter together.
While one’s interpretation may vary from the other, all can concur that the main gist was protest towards injustice. One may even go to the lengths of questioning the efforts of the authorities with regards to injustice. Perhaps and hopefully through this dance, awareness about injustice can be successfully created, questions will be raised, and answers will be the inspiration of pursuance.
By Jonathan Chu (www.asiadancechannel.com)