Première: Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa, 28-29 April 2006

Choreography: Anjali
Music: original recordings made in India and sound collage by Anjali and David Bignell
Dancer: Anjali.. Poet/Actor: Tony Gaston

A contemporary piece, set to an original score, and based on a poem by Tony Gaston, tracing our collective history. This piece received critical acclaim when presented at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi, in December 2005.

Notes on The Dance of Time

In terms of geological time, ours has been a very short journey, yet we have come an enormous distance from our beginnings, on the shores of Africa's lakes. There is no spot on earth that has not seen our shiny metallic machines, heard their roaring, scented their hydrocarbon breath.

But in other ways, we have travelled nowhere. Can anyone say with confidence that the artists of today have more skill and inspiration than those ancient people, crouched in the deepest darkness of the Lascaux caves? Can anyone claim to be more wise than Socrates, more sensible than Siddharta Gautama, more inventive than da Vinci? We are what we are, no more and no less than cave men in suits and skirts.

Our potential seems infinite, both for good and evil. We can clone animals, visit other planets, connect effortlessly with our kind every minute of the day. The dying man, overtaken by a blizzard on Everest, can say goodbye to his mother in Australia. The astronaut can hear the wail of his newborn child as he hurtles through space. A whole world watched as jets flung themselves into the towers of New York.

We seem to live in troubled times, but the times were always troubled, because the troubles are us. The Dance of Time pieces together the route by which we arrived at where we are. Shiva, the primordial and eternal dancer, symbolises not only the cyclical nature of the universe, but also the dichotomy between creation and destruction, the tension between those positive, life-affirming processes that lead towards harmony and the negative forces of greed, envy and pride that lead to division and strife. This is a recurring theme in our work, as it must be for every artist.

There is no simple road from where we are, in a world beset by vast injustice, to where we might want to be. The journey must be made one decision at a time. We have no easy answers. What drives us is the unswerving faith that we can be better than we are and that one day, some day, we shall all be free.

Tony Gaston and Anjali