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Saturday, July 16, 2011

conceptual choreography by kuwait-malayalees

Gobsmacked" - a word used among freaky-wacky youths to denote "amazing" - would fit these young dancers' efforts in body movements or conceptual choreography. The founders of this new Indian dance movement in Kuwait, a clinical psychologist, a software engineer and a dance teacher at a school are a blend of bond, balance and blooming creativity. They show what traditional stage performers do not dare to do onstage, like incorporating martial arts into dance, and continue experimenting with new concepts offstage, making modern story concepts into various dance forms.

Their two dance numbers, performed with 10 student-dancers last Friday at American International School, Maidan Hawally, as part of the Al-Mulla-Jeevan TV program before an awestruck audience, have made them go home with several offers in the coming months. Sleeves up and pants tightened, they have begun practicing for their next show, utilizing the summer vacation as most of the "gang members" are school-going.

Ambili Babu, the psychologist of 'Ground Zero', as they have named their team, said she sees dance as a therapy. Dance is not just a movement of body, she said, but an effective form of communication. "There's rhythmic movement in everything. Our heart beats to a rhythm. Through dance, these movement-patterns emerge as a flow of energy, letting go of our negative energy and sustaining at the same time positive vibes".

For their performance last Friday, Ambili & Co had a surprise member who literally stole the show whenever he appeared on stage - Achu (Ajith), her chubby younger brother who just completed his doctoral studies in China. For their art loving parents - their father has been in Kuwait for more than three decades - the children's dance shows are their own dreams realized.

Renji Mathew Thomas, another Kuwait-born-and-brought-up member of Ground Zero, and a software engineer with the Al-Sayer Group, insists on body stretching exercises, yoga and quta, a derivative of kung-fu. Our dance is a creative flow of emotions, he said. "People have seen different stories in the form of dance in ballets. But our experiment is with the form where the hero is not shy to express his angst and aggression".

Anything goes well with their next flexible member Bivin KS, the dance instructor at Khaitan Indian School. He is a curious mix of a street dancer, an actor portraying the romantic and the depressed and a playmate for kids. Along with Ambili last Friday, he breathed positive life into a popular sad song through his agile, spirited and graceful movements while the remix of the sad song was played - an altogether new experience for much of the audience.

The dynamism and the chemistry between the three is a delight to watch. Onstage, they are 100 percent professionals. Offstage, they tease, play, listen and respect one another. The three are familiar with various dance forms - retro, rave, break and free style, Bollywood, contemporary, classical, hip-hop, and salsa. But as choreographers, ego far aside, they choose what is best for the team, for wholeness.

Perhaps that attitude is their best contribution to the younger generation - their own student-members. As Nithya, a student-member of the team recalled: "The other day while we were practicing for the new show, Bivin nose landed bleeding to our fret. But after wiping his nose, Bivin said, 'let's continue'. Wow! I've never seen such dedication!

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