Reviewed by Paula Citron
Sampradaya Dance Creations
Fleck Dance Theatre
Jun. 10 to 12, 2011
TAJ was a Luminato Festival commission for Lata Pada’s Sampradaya Dance Creations. Her dream team included a script by John Murrell, direction by Tom Diamond, and choreography by India’s revered Kumudini Lakhia – but all came up short.
The rest of the creators, India’s Praveen D. Rao (music and sound), Phillip Silver (lighting and set design), Rashmi Varma (costumes), and Montreal’s Jacques Collin (projections), did a magnificent job.
Pada was inspired by the great love story behind the Taj Mahal, built by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Visually and aurally, the piece was spectacular, but there was no getting around Murell’s repetitive, static, faux-poetic text.
The usually reliable Diamond made some odd directing choices, while Lakhia’s choreography was a mixed bag, although the international cast of dancers was strong.
There is a beautiful production within the concept of TAJ. Producer Pada should rework the script and integrate the actors with the dancers.