Tuesday, May 28

Kattam Katti – The Lowry

Pagrav Dance company comprises of a cast who have Indian heritage, have taken to the road on their latest tour (four musicians and four dancers) who bring their unique take on traditional Indian Kathak dance. Kattam Katti means ‘cutting through,’ and they do that with a mix of dance, singing, music composed especially for the performance and a splice of comedy.

The setting is the frenetic energy of the Uttarayan Kite Festival which the performers deftly bring to life with expression and movement. The kites are left to our imaginations, the long strings are shown and woven across the stage creating a barrier or difficulty to dance. While the dancers use performance to illustrate the range of emotions that the kite festival incites.

To put into context this festival is such a big deal in India, they make it a two-day public holiday. Choreography by Urja Desai is remarkably varied. Musicians move around the stage all the time rather than sitting on one place. Sometimes you cannot be sure who is musician and who is dancer.

It is created from her personal observations of the festival and her Gujarat heritage. What is key is that the kite flying is a metaphor for the inequalities of society

The instruments are fascinating and an education in themselves. Stand out is the flautist whose distinct Indian sound entrances the audience and weaves a hypnotic captivating rhythm. They interact with the dancers becoming a mirror to emotions and feelings. Playful and provocative.

Fight scenes were a surprising part of it and gave a different charge of energy to watch. It started slow and was fragmented creating a dreamlike and allegorical complex of flying kites which sometimes flew high and other times fell to the ground. Either bringing elation or disappointment but always they would try again never giving up.

Costumes are traditional in and floaty style with a range of hues mostly red, with some pink and gold thrown in and this adds to the heady mix of vibrant music and movement.

A challenging watch if you are expecting just the traditional style of dance at times, although more positive at the end when it seems like the conflict and confusion is resolved. The kite strings move up to create more space and the dancing becomes more uplifting and synchronised. The audience were captivated.

Reviewer: Rachel Foster

Reviewed: 11th February 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★