Yerma – “Exquisite, breathtaking, powerful and poignant”
Amina Khayyam Dance Company bring the anguishing story of Yerma to The Courtyard, in a re-imagining of Federico Garcia Lorca’s savage yet lyrical play – Wednesday 6 April, 7.30pm.
“This isn’t dance narrative as we know it but something that burrows much deeper into the emotional roots of Lorca’s play, finding a poetry of its own” – 4**** / FestMag
Yerma is about a young woman, who is tormented by the social stigma of being in a childless marriage. So obsessed is Yerma with the notion of having a child so that she fits into what she considers to be her rightful role in society, and so frustrated is she by her husband, that she is driven to commit murder.
“Powerful, poignant kathak dance…sharply stylized.. dramatically alert, thematically rich and ultimately moving” – 4**** / The List
Performed to spectacular live music with tabla, cello and vocals featuring world renowned musicians, Amina Khayyam Dance Company, the UK-based dance company that uses Kathak as the core narrative, embarks on its unique dance/theatre interpretation of Yerma. The famous 1934 ‘tragic poem’ was written by the Spanish dramatist and poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, and this re-imagining uses the south Asian dance form of Kathak to ensure this very topical tale resonates with modern and diverse British audiences.
“emotive, well-choreographed. The highlight is Yerma’s expressive eyes. For a dancer to be able to tell the entirety of the narrative just through her eyes, it’s astonishing” – 4**** / Edfest Mag
The anguishing story of Yerma in Federico Garcia Lorca’s savage yet lyrical play about a woman who suffers the heart breaking social torment of a childless marriage, that forces her to commit a horrific and irrevocable act, is set to Indian neoclassical dance – Kathak. Originally set in rural patriarchal Spain of 19th century, Yerma is made relevant by Amina Khayyam Dance Company for today’s new and marginalised communities of Britain and Europe.
“Amina Khayyam Dance’s interpretation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Yerma offers a haunting account of a woman in an arranged marriage who attracts suspicion from her husband and the community due to her inability to have children. Although written in 1934, women find themselves in similar situations today among some sub-cultural communities in Britain, prompting Khayyam to create a contemporary version of the tragedy. ” – Dr Stacey Prickett, Principal Lecturer, University of Roehampton
On the making of Yerma…
“When I first started creating Yerma, I had just given birth to my child, a fact that made empathising with Yerma’s yearning for a child slightly problematic. However, having a little cherub of my own in my arms, I could see why Yerma would yearn for one of her own. But that is not why I had started on my journey to meet Yerma – I grew up with stories around me from my own community where if a woman was unable to bear a child, she would automatically considered to be at fault! The family would then force the husband to re marry so he may get a second chance to have a child. Although this is not the case with Yerma, everything else in the story resonates. Amazing that while the play was written in 1934, it is so topical for many women around the world today in numerous different cultures who find themselves in similar situations; they are under tremendous pressure to ‘do the right thing’ and if they seemingly don’t conform to what society has decided are the rules, they will find themselves marginalised, pushed out and ultimately without family or support. Today, Europe has new Yermas seething on the fringes of inner-cities, hidden behind the insularity of communities where women’s issues still have a long way to go… I approach the re-telling of Yerma using the passion of Kathak. I use Abhinaya – the gestural facial expressions – as the central movement within it, but I subvert it by negating it – so that my Yerma wears a face of death – there is no prettiness, no jewels, no shine. Rural Spain of Yerma is transposed to contemporary Britain: some issues remain the same. I hope audiences enjoy our modern take on Yerma.” – Amina Khayyam
Yerma is at The Courtyard on Wednesday 6 April, 7.30pm – be sure to get your tickets from Box Office, by calling 01432 340555 or online here