Limitless Productions takes on the forbidden, the taboo, the personal in a multi-faceted production at the Toronto Fringe.Limitless answers some of my questions below.
LR: How do evolution and the forbidden relate, physically, artistically or metaphorically in this show Forbidden Fruit: Evolution?
LP: The Forbidden Fruit: Evolution is the second collection of dances in a Forbidden Fruit trilogy. The first Forbidden Fruit aimed to shatter the silence that hangs heavy on certain “taboo” and “forbidden” topics within the South Asian community in India and Toronto, and create a dialogue that would later inspire change.
In the first instalment we discussed inter-racial and inter-faith love, underage prostitution particularly within India, employment inequities and racism for immigrants, the process of immigration itself, opening up to and creating a connection with a stranger, emotional abuse, being a social outcast and defining personal freedom.
With Forbidden Fruit: Evolution, we have attempted to deal with some of the same issues but entirely from the perspective of characters who live in Toronto.
While we are bringing up some “taboo” and “forbidden” topics which act as barriers for the characters into the spotlight, in this installment the characters facing these barriers attempt to overcome them by taking the situation into their own hands and defining what is right and “normal” for them.
LR: How does Limitless approach weaving social issues into dance, or into this show in general?
LP: Once we have a collection of issues that fit well within a logical theme, we delve into how each of the characters might have felt, said, done or didn’t and create a monologue, a story or a scene with dialogue that serves to introduce the choreography. Through choreography the remainder of the story is narrated.
Forbidden Fruit: Evolution in particular deals with social issues of rebellion against ones parents as a means of rejecting societal norms, having a difference of opinion, first love and the confusion, apprehension, fears and pain that it brings, fluidity of sexuality, gender inequality and role reversal, the cycle of abuse and finally self-acceptance.
With themes as complex and intricate as these, the choreography demands the use of lyrical and certain natural movements that borrow elements from post-modern and neo-classical styles of dances.
LR: How have the different dance styles you draw on been fused through the creative process?
Her sense of experimentation and need to tell stories to a wider audience led her create an amalgamation of the two dance styles from her training and experience. “Indo-Contemporary” is a fusion between Contemporary Ballet, Bharatanatyam and Kathak which takes into account common elements and techniques.
We utilize the mudras and hastaks (poses and hand gestures) of Bharatanatyam (developed in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu) and the grace, groundedness and stylization of Kathak (developed in Lucknow (U.P.), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Banaras) to enrich the abstract nature of Contemporary and Modern Ballet.
Conversely, we are able to utilize the basic techniques of ballet as well as the flow and naturalistic tendencies of contemporary ballet to bring a sense of earthiness and realism to the Indian Classical dances which, traditionally and predominantly, have narrated stories of gods, goddesses, heroes and legends.
Through this marrying of strikingly contrasting yet intriguingly similar dance styles we are able to create a unique and almost personal style of movement and form that is capable of communicating to the masses effectively, regardless of the audience background and tell the stories of everyday common people who are obliged to lead extraordinary existence.
LR: Where have the five stories in Forbidden Fruit come from?
LP: We select and research social issues from personal experiences of our performers, friends, family and news releases. We never force our performers or others to share any personal details of their experiences that they may not be comfortable sharing.
The five stories in Forbidden Fruit draw upon certain significant, defining and poignant moments and incidents from the life of the choreographers and individual dancers. These stories have germinated from vague memories, fresh reminders and triggers, and certain case studies and have organically created characters aged 10 to 30.
LR: Why have you chosen to participate in the Fringe Festival?
LP: The Fringe Festival is a voice for up and coming emerging diverse artists. The festival is a wonderful, supportive platform, encouraging of all ideas and stories. We are proud and honoured to be part of the Fringe 2011.
Presented by Limitless Productions
Choreographer: Ashima Suri
Cast: Mandeep Bhalru, Justine Cargo, Abid Ali Changezi, Emily Hussein, Shafik Kamani, Imran Mohammed, Sarah Paul, Sid Sawant, Ashima Suri, MyAnh Tran
Warning: Mature Language
Venue 12 Factory Theatre Mainspace
Fri, July 8 7:00 PM
Sat, July 9 Noon
Mon, July 11 6:45 PM
Wed, July 13 11:00 PM
Thu, July 14 5:45 PM
Sat, July 16 5:45 PM
Sun, July 17 1:45 PM
All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee).
Several money-saving passes <link to: http://fringetoronto.com/fringefest/passes.html> are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.