The PJ Civic Centre (PJCC) is all set to welcome the country’s most renowned classical Indian dance guru, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, and the Sutra Dance Foundation.
This will be the first time, in more than 25 years, Sutra will be performing at the auditorium.
When the country went into a first lockdown last year, all plans for the show, scheduled to be staged in March 2020, was postponed. Then, many who looked forward to opening night in October 2020, were left disappointed once again, when the show had to take a backseat.
Now, as live events are making a gradual comeback, Ramli and dancers are simply raring to mesmerise audience, and bring life to this dance form.
Following its successful ‘world premiere’ run in Seremban and Melaka two weeks ago, the dance ensemble eagerly anticipates connecting with audience from the Klang Valley in its upcoming performances.
Triple Frontiers, an ode to Odissi, will be staged on 9th April at 8pm, with a Gala Fundraising Nite. Invitations are by donations of RM50, RM80 or RM150.
This will be followed by two nights of performances on 10th and 11th April respectively, with invitations by donations of RM40 or RM60.
GoodNews caught up with Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, to know more about the upcoming show.
When Datuk Ramli stepped into PJCC last year before the pandemic, he brought along an old friend, M. Guna, a former staff of the venue. Guna was Ramli’s lighting engineer when he first performed there in 1983. This dance maestro needed to see the technical facilities, and know for sure that he was making a right decision.
When Sutra shifted their performances to KL, they started losing the PJ crowd. With this show, Ramli hopes to reconnect and re-engage with lost patrons.
“PJCC seemed to beckon me to use it again. The venue is a relatively big one, and is one of the better designed theatres in Malaysia, the only setback being, it has not always been well-maintained.” quipped Ramli, who is positive that Guna will be able to pull out all the stops, to make this a show-stopping performance.”
Ramli explained why Sutra stopped performing in PJ and Selangor,
“It was because the Selangor state government–imposed entertainment tax for ‘serious’ artistic endeavors like that of Sutra Foundation. ‘Serious’ theatre (as opposed to commercial endeavors) just cannot exist without government or corporate support in the form of grants or sponsorship towards their CSR programs. Theatre has been sustained mainly through passion. There is simply no money in dance and productions are expensive to stage.”
Contrary to the impression of many that Sutra is well-funded, the recipient of the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2018 explained that Sutra secured sponsorship of the venue for this production, acknowledging Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ).
With International Women’s Day just celebrated last month, co-creating with synchronicity, Triple Frontiers ideally pays homage to three women dancemakers of Odissi – Sujata Mishra, Parwati Dutta and Meera Das.
The works of these three women, from differing backgrounds, are clearly translated into their choreography, communicating stories through intense creativity of expression and elaborate elucidation of hand and feet movements.
Sujata who is from the Debaprasad School of Odissi, stands out through her distinct choice of music. Parwati, from the Delhi School, is a very intellectual dancer and scholar, who has a strong musical approach to her works. Meera on the other hand, is a confident dance-maker, with extensive experience. Her individualistic approach, functioning very much within the tradition of Kelubabu, simply exemplifies the Kelucharan School.
These three ladies who started training under dance experts Pankaj Charan, Kelucharan Mahapatra and Debaprasad Das decades ago have now become choreographers in their own rights, with dance schools of their own.
For those attending the show, you are promised a performance like no other. Triple Frontiers is designed in a triple bill, with two pauses in between for dancers to change into different costumes, setting the moods for each segment of the guru/dance-makers.
Ramli proudly exclaims, “This time, there is more input from the young dancers of Sutra especially those from our Dance Outreach program (Kajang, Rawang & Ladang Sg Choh) which we started more than 7 years ago. The little ones have now grown into teenagers, and are poised and confident dancers. They are holding the fort now and audiences may like to start identifying who and which talent they will be watching in the years to come.”
There is a saying that goes, the third time’s a charm.
Triple Frontiers, postponed not only once, but twice, will finally have its closure. From change of dates, postponements, cancellations, change of dancers, recreating of publicity campaigns, to appeasing irate patrons, Ramli can now exhale a deep sigh of relief in this third attempt.
This weekend, be ready to be spellbound by lyrical grace, elaborate rhythmic movements and dramatic expressions.…with Triple Frontiers.
For enquiries and bookings, contact:
The video below is a glimpse of what to expect this weekend:
(All images are courtesy of Sutra Foundation)