Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Dressed in white, the dancers were lost in their swirling motions as Sufi rhythms played in the background.
Gradually, the beat picked up and so did the tempo of the dancers, until they were nothing more than spinning blurs on stage.
What made the performance special was that all the whirling dervishes were differently-abled youngsters on wheelchairs.
“At 200 mph, the speed of a wheelchair is higher than any dancer can spin on his feet. A stage full of dancers on wheelchair spinning at top speed is a mesmerising sight,” says Salauddin Pasha, the Delhi-based maestro who trained the dancers at his school Ability Unlimited.
On Sunday, the students presented Sufi dance, Bharatanatyam, martial arts and yoga on wheelchair at a 60-minute-long performance called Commonwealth on Wheels.
“The wheelchairs were customised and we spent almost six years preparing the piece. Sufi dance on wheelchair premiered two years ago and has been a hit every time,” says Pasha proudly.
Bharatanatyam on wheels was split into two pieces — a Tillana and a choreography called Ten Direction of the World. The dancers use traditional abhinayas, mudras and poses as they depicted mythological figures like Indra and Shiva in a tandava stance.
[Picture: Rumi on Wheels. Photo: Ability Unlimited]