A few days ago we visited a contemporary dance performance: Yama presented by the Scottish Dance Theatre. This year we received the opportunity to attend cultural events and and Yama was one of them. And it was impressive.
The performance started in darkness, with creepy sounds. Than a bit of light: someone crawled out of a pit, totally bowed down, chained to the earth, almost naked with a covered face. There is a depressing attention to gravity. The being goes back, comes out again and moves around with great difficulty. Then slowly seven others come up as well. All with their faces covered so it was difficult to determine if they are male or female. They start dancing in a horizontal position. Chaotic and close to each other. Sometimes it looks most like a mix between a difficult sexual encounter and a fight.
Slowly it changes. The acts become more like rituals. Coordinated moves instead of the apparent chaos of before. From totally connected with each other and the ground: something more vertical. They receive more clothes. Deeply impressive is the moment they put off their masks: they have human faces now. The end was a very elegant and fast dance act. As difficult and slow as it started as fast and elegant it ends.
Afterwards there was an opportunity to hear the director and two dancers speak about Yama. She explained that it was an expression of transcendence. It is inspired by a Buddhist ritual of rebirth. The aspect of evolution is very central.
Evolution is absolutely one of the most visible and understandable aspects in this dance. The evolution of faceless, naked beings bound to the earth towards clothed humans performing elegant rituals. Yes, a clear evolution.
It is a strong, modern expression of transcendence. Focused on the evolution and personal development of humans. It has many beautiful and good elements in it, but it seems to lack an essential element: the meeting with God. For us Christians is it the meeting with Jesus.
Transcendence isn’t only coming free from the earth through evolution and developing as a human. No, it includes opening ourselves towards another, another divine Person, And by doing this, freeing ourselves from a purely egocentric and human attitude.
This dance performance was a good opportunity of seeing the desire and understanding of transcendence in our culture. It was a high technical quality performance which showed the fascination for transcendent rituals, focusing on personal evolution in our modern society. Very impressive to see, but it lacks God.