Last night I saw this incredible play Encounter, it was intense and moving at the same time. Presented with Diwali in BC as part of this year’s Diwali celebrations, Navarasa Dance Theater’s Encounter is a provocative performance blending daring physical theatre with bold storytelling. Inspired by award-winning writer Mahasweta Devi’s short story, and using acrobatics and original music, Encounter is the story of an indigenous  woman, Dopdi, her defiance against injustice, and her communities’ struggle to uphold their indigenous way of life. It is a story that the world can relate to, a story about being the underdog and standing up to injustice. Written by Navarasa Dance Theater’s founders S.M. Raju and Aparna Sindhoor, Encounter is a passionate story of female power that delves into the struggles and challenges of the indigenous communities of India.

With music by award-winning composer Isaac Thomas Kottukapally, and exhilarating physical theatre and dance choreographed and directed by Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyaveda, Encounter employs Indian classical dance, yoga, songs, martial arts, stories and folk dances. It combines and blends these varied forms with creativity and passion to tell the powerful and important story of Encounter – a tribute to the indigenous people’s history all around the world.

“The word ‘Encounter’ has a specific meaning in the Indian (South Asian) context… it is a euphemism for the state orchestrated ‘chance meetings,’ to get rid of (kill, or torture and kill) the so-called enemies of the state…our show explores multiple meanings of ‘Encounter’, including torture, while challenging and creating a counter to this military ‘encounter’” — Aparna Sindhoor, co-writer of Encounter

On stage at the York Theate in Vancouver’s East end, performances run through to October 22.

By: Richard Wolak