Ascent

Aerial + Dance + Music + Design

Through time and place, through death and grace, through me, through it all, I come undone... (from Ascent)

Ascent

A fresh contemporary hybrid collaboration that explores the human spiritual journey and our sacred connection to each other.

Created in response to COVID-19 and the many deaths of loved ones in India, Isha Sharvani translates her experience into a powerful and moving solo portrait.

Strongly rooted in Indian traditional dances and spiritual disciplines of Kalaripayattu,Yoga and Malakhamb with over 25 years of experience in performing and making works with the Daksha Sheth Dance Company (India), Isha has established herself as an expert in "Malakhamb" a rope technique where 108 yoga poses are taught on a handmade cotton rope and Kalaripayattu designed for self-defense bybhuddhist monks by harnessing energy. To visually communicate the depth of ancient traditions in fresh, new and contemporary ways in a hybrid form that is compelling and visually arresting is at the heart of Isha’s journey as an artist. 

This work takes the form of the ascent of an imagined spirit travelling out of the material world. The work taps into the courage it takes to let go of all things, and be weightless enough to fly, and in this is a process of dissolving and transformation. As we look towards new futures and ways of being in our tumultuous world, this work represents a vision of transcendence and becoming. 

Storytelling and metaphor is at the heart of my choreographic practice and with this work I seek to connect in a powerful and meaningful way with audiences…to touch their soul. I am exploring new narrative pathways that bring people into this otherworldly place and time. This journey opens itself to the imagination in its inventive engagement with aerial arts, as I transcend the limitations of my body, so I then actually ‘fly’.  In facing our mortality we embrace life, in experiencing our sacred connection to another, we acknowledge our capacity to love.

This work combines Kalaripayattu, Yoga and Malakhamb rope forms with an exploration of contemporary circus rope techniques. In addition to explore the interaction and interplay between traditional Indian and contemporary dance techniques. The resulting work has its own unique form and expression. 

The experience we create in the space for the audience resonates deeply, beyond the physicality, where the collective artistry creates a meeting space, a moment in time, to leave behind the mundane for performer and audience, and for them to connect and experience the work together. This is a communication of sensations and vibrations, and speaks to those things that we cannot put into words, but from time to time, we understand and feel… 

Everything we love is about to die, and that is why everything we love must be summed up, with all the high emotion of farewell, in something so beautiful we shall never forget it…(Michael Leriris)

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Creative Team:

Concept/lead performer: Isha Sharvani

Direction/dramaturgy: Sally Richardson

In collaboration with:

Designer: Matt McVeigh

Composer: Tao Mott (with Dev Issaro)

Choreographer: Daksha Seth

Dancer/performer: Russell Thorpe

Aerial choreographer: Claudia Alessi

Video documentation: Mitch Aldridge & Tim Roberts

Reviews:

Timeline:

Creative Development: April - June 2021

First stage work in progress showing: The Chapel Space

Performances:

Awards:

PARTNERS:

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