Daniel Phoenix Singh must be tired of the “boundary-crossing” label by now. But what did he expect? The Indian-born computer scientist-cum-choreographer—-who melds modern dance with classical Indian movement and has performed at the 9:30 Club, among other unconventional venues—-has basically asked for it.
By those standards, though, this weekend’s show at Artisphere is fairly tame, though it does include a crucial two-for-one element. The first half of the night gets ticket-holders a dance performance by Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, then gears shift and the event becomes a dance party in Artisphere’s ballroom, accompanied by tunes from the U.S. Department of Bhangra.
Sounds like a fully Indian-themed event, but it’s not. One of the dance pieces represents a fusion of bharatanatyam—one India’s best-known dance styles—and modern dance, but the rest fall squarely in the category of contemporary western movement. In the past few years, Singh has been restaging pieces by modern dance pioneers and longtimers, and “By the Light” is one of those. The piece was made by seminal Washington choreographer Eric Hampton, who died a decade ago, to depict his struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease; it was the last dance Hampton choreographed.
The other modern dance pieces are at least somewhat more upbeat. They include a gestural duet between two men, and a whimsical dance that explores the cycles of life—and is performed wholly on office chairs.
And after that’s over, it’s time to get down.
The Artisphere show starts Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.. Tickets to the performance and dance party are $25; the bhangra dance party alone, which starts at 9 p.m., is $15. On Sunday, the event starts at 3 p.m. and has a particular focus on families; that show is $12 for adults and $8 for kids.