Radha – a reinterpretation 2002

Photo Lara PlatmanPhoto Lara Platman

Radha a re-interpretation of Ruth St Denis’s 1906 solo.

Mother of Bollywood? In 1906 American dancer Ruth St Denis exposed her feet in an exotic homage to the East. This non Asian woman portrayed the Goddess Radha  in a work with a Buddhist theme, set in a Jain Temple, performed to French opera music – and the work was  a huge success, paving the way for the modern dance ear to arise. Truely a  pioneer of the cross cultural field.

Lea reinterprets St Denis’s Radha in the light of contemporary practice, but with the concepts, choreography, costume based on the original production and performs to a new score inspired by Delibes Lakme, composed by Nick Parkin

Lea sees her own journey foreshadowed in the career of Ruth St Denis, a vaudeville dancer who ransacked eastern mythology to develop her own novelty exotic act. Though Lea admits she is treading a fine line between “the historical and the hysterical” in re-creating St Denis’s 1906 piece Radha, you have to admire the guts with which she braves its hokey high seriousness.     The  Guardian 

‘Radha was Lea’s curious, seductive reincarnation of a slice of cod-Asian exoticism from 1906 by the American modern dance pioneer Ruth St Denis. This kinetic antique about a deity’s renunciation of the senses is pure fakery, but I mean that as a compliment.  The piece exuded a perfume of pleasure thanks to Lea… she danced with kittenish exactitude and kitsch refinement. Her introduction, part camp history lesson and part arch stand-up routine, was equally engaging’.  The times

photo Lara Platman, design Tom Walshaw

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