The Shaman’s dream was that ‘one day all people will share the same dream and be one people.’
In the spirit of his grandfather, Horsedance is doing just that. Through a combination of dance. song and Indian folktales. the show explores both an ancient culture and contemporary concerns; prejudice, the coming of age and humanity.
‘The songs are my own,‘ explains Horsedance. ‘Most Indians do not use other people‘s music. It is considered very personal. they embody our thoughts and prayers. and they come in our dreams or visions, although some old songs have been passed down, as have the old dances like the hoop dance. In the show I have interpreted the pieces and given them a modern twist.’
The understanding ofthe word Shaman is somewhat vague: the dictionary refers to it as a magic Spiritualist. Horsedance defined it in his terms. ‘Everything alive is magic. Our surroundings are magic and we use everything around us to heal ourselves. A shaman in not only a
spiritual but a physical healer. He is also the keeper of legend and history. He is a storyteller, who gives up his life to communicate with nature.‘
Horsedance was raised outside his Sioux tribe and felt very much lost between the two cultures. Prejudice was strong and unless Indians changed their way of thinking and dressing and tried to fit in with society, they were ridiculed. Determined to get involved with theatre, Horsedance trained as a ballet dancer and for eighteen years worked with numerous international companies. All the time he practised Indian dance and music, and eventually went on to study Native American anthropology.
‘I researched through documents and by talking to old Apache. The interest in this culture has exploded
in the US It‘s become the in thing to be an Indian. But when I state certain facts to white audiences they are shocked. For instance, until 1976 Indians were prohibited by law from practising their own rituals.
‘I think the interest in the Native American way of life is because people have become tired ofbeing told how to think and worship. Spiritual thinking is a very individual thing. How can something that means something to me, mean something to you? No two lives are the same. They can’t possibly be. We are given guidelines and then sent out to search for ourselves. The journey is an individual and magical one.‘ (Michael Balfour)
I The Shaman’s Dream (Fringe) Stageworks Theatre, Viewforth Centre (Venue 44) 229 0044, until 5 Sept (not Sun), 12.30pm. £4 (£2.50).
mam- life story
Rhythms ol Lite tells the story oi Buddha, a prince, who makes a dramatic journey to the outside world lorlhe iirst time. Once outside he sees three things: old age, death and illness, irom which he has previously been cocooned. He is distressed and wonders how he can overcome all the pain and suiiering in the world. His answer lies in the Mini religion that now takes his name: Buddhism.
This dance is a celebration oi an optimistic way oi liie. Choreographed and pertormed by Sanchari Dance Company, the periormance is, as Bisarka Sarker, company member, explains ‘a iorm oi storytelling where we weave dance and poetry together. We aim to create an evolving iorm irom various Indian dance styles and bring that closerto British audiences.‘
Sanchari was termed in 1990 and, unusually for an Indian dance group, the company is all iemale, including two Indian women, Sarker and
Sanieevani Dutta, as well as Lucy Bannon who is British. Both Dutta and Sarker are highly experienced dancers and choreographers, and Bannon has been trained by them.
‘Together we set out to create an original piece based on the universal appeal at an original thinker, Buddha, and the choreography arose out oi much consultation, debate, music and meditation,‘ Sarker says. ‘We work with two wonderlul musicians, Nick Wiltshire and Clive Bell and were helped by Vandana Bastogi, a sitar
player.’ The musicians play the ilute and various other instruments such as conch shells, live during the periormance.
Having lived and worked in Britain for so long, the choreographers are straightforward in their approach. ‘We ieel that the Indian facial and body gestures should evolve and then iniluence the shape oi the choreography. We have always been interested in using the English language to make it more accessible, so we speak during the performance. We are very much about sharing our work with people who we meet in our everyday Iiie,’ Sarker adds.
Sarker will be familiar to Edinburgh audiences alter her popular performances during the Mum-Cultural Dance Festival in 1990. She was particularly praised ior the iluidity oi her hand and arm movements and the sparkle oi her expressive eyes. (Tamsin Drainger)
Rhythms oi Lile (Fringe) Sanchari Dance Company, Across The Mersey Theatre (Venue 123) 557 9659, 30 Aug—2 Sept, 12.05pm, 25612.50).
Michael Baliour picks out live pre-lunch highlights.
I Far and Few: The History oi the Jumblies A participatory promenade show, based on the nonsense poems of Edward Lear. Certainly one of the best children’s offerings of the Fringe.
FarAnd Few: The History Of The Jumblies (Fringe) Poor Fools Theatre Company, Cathedral Church of St Mary and Chapter House (Venue 91) until 5 Sept (not 29, 30) 10.30am, £4 (£3).
I Scottish Traditional Storytellers Different professional storytellers with the gift of the gab, bring tall and short tales alive. Guaranteed to enthral.
Scottish Traditional Storytellers (Fringe) The Netherbow (Venue 30) 556 9579, until 5 Sept (not Suns) 10.45am, £3.50 (£2.50).
I The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband A delicious black comedy about Hilary — jealous, humiliated, deceived and betrayed. A comedy with suspect table manners.
The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband (Fringe) The Snarling Beasties Theatre Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 30 A ug—5 Sept, noon, £6.50 (£5).
I Swallowing Oysters An intelligent and funny piece of ‘serious’ theatre that is sensitive and provoking. Make the effort. Free coffee and doughnuts provided.
Swallowing Oysters (Fringe) Exacting Theatre Company, Southside ’92 (Venue 82) 667 7365, until5 Sept (not27, 2) 10am, £3.50 (£3).
I Talking Birds An unusually courageous production exploring superstitions at carnival time in a small village. A fascinating combination of quirky humour, dramatic choreography and the surreal.
Talking Birds (Fringe) Riﬂe Lodge (Venue 101) 5571785, until5 Sept (not27, 3) 12.15pm, £3.50 (£3).
The List 28 August — 10 September 199219