What is the sound of cinnamon and sandalwood? This isn’t about a new kind of poetic trope, but a ballet that travels to India this week. Ipnos, which will be performed by students of the historical Ballet School of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala from Milan, Italy, hopes to translate the sensuality of Eastern spices and incense to stage play. The seduction of the senses, the scents and the fragrance, are the main themes on which Italian musician Riccardo Nova and choreographer Davide Bombana have worked.
The Ballet School of the Teatro alla Scala dates back to 1813. It has modernized itself over the years while remaining faithful to purist traditions—the Italian, French, Russian and American-Balanchinian styles. True to its contemporary leanings, Ipnos won’t have ballerinas strutting in tutus but in contemporary dance attire.
Ballet: Ipnos is an Italian production.
The ballet draws its name from the Greek word “Ipnos”, which means “sleep”. The hypnotic music arrangement incorporates varied Indian influences, such as the mrindangam, kanjira and ghatam, which are blended with Western string instruments, such as the cello, to create a score that alternates electronic sounds with Sufi voices, percussion and strings in extended archaic harmonies. As music director Nova explains: “These harmonies allow the dancers the space they need for slow and sensual movements, which are in contrast to the discordant complexity which has come to become an integral part of contemporary music expression.”
7pm (24 January) at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai; and 7pm (28 January) at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. Passes can be collected from the Italian consulate.