"Transcendance of Inanna
by Titanya Monique Dahlin"
Synopsis by Maria
The Nightingale & The Rose Performing Arts Company presented their play, "The Transcandence of Inanna"
written and choreographed by Titanya Monique Dahlin. Titanya is a professional Middle Eastern dancer and storyteller.
She refers to herself as a "StoryDancer". I think that is an apt description of her.
The performance was held the end of April, beginning of May 2000 in Boulder, Colorado. The work was originally
performed in Ashland, Oregon in 1997. The show was approximately two hours long, but did not seem that long, because
Titanya kept interest in the story by lighting techniques to set the mood, and changes in characters. The live
music was provided by four members of Sherefe, a local band, who also took part in the play in amusing ways.
For those of you unfamiliar with the myth of Inanna, it is a story 2500 years older than the Bible. It was inscribed
on clay tablets in the Sumerian civilization. The Sumerians were believed to be the world's first civilization
settling in Mesopotamia, (modern day Iraq), One of their leading deities was Inanna, Goddess of Love, War and Procreation.
She was the Great Mother, worshipped throughout the land for nearly 2,000 years. Titanya has used twenty-five different
sources to arrive at her interpretation of the myth of Innana.
The show starts out by Titanya portraying Enheduanna, a High Priestess, inviting us into the world of Inanna. From
there, Titanya portrays Inanna descending into the underworld to find her sister, Erishkigal, Goddess of the Underworld.
She encounters Neti, the guardian of the Threshold who tells Inanna, "Do not questions the laws of the underworld,"
as Inanna leads into the seven gates of the underworld. At the entrance to each ate, Neti instructs Inanna to leave
a piece of her clothing or jewelry in order to gain admittance into the gate. Her leaving a piece of her clothing
or jewelry symbolized leaving a piece of yourself behind in order to get at your inner truth. After entering each
gate, Inanna goes through various difficulties so that she will be able to advance to the next gate, each one more
and more difficult. Inanna leaves behind on earth Ninshubur, her "right-hand woman", and her husband
For those of you who know the myth, Titanya took liberties with Dimuzi's part. In the myth translated in the book,
"Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, her stories and hymns from Sumer, by Diane Wolkstein and Samule Noah Kramer,"
Inanna, sacrifices her husband Dimuzi in exchange for her own life in the underworld so she can return to earth.
Dimuzi is also a loving husband in the book, curiously though, he did not mourn for her while she was gone in the
Underworld. Titanya took artistic license in making Dimuzi a cad, and she sends him down to the Underworld for
his sins in exchange for her life.
My favorite parts in the play were when Inanna was hanging to die in the underworld as her sister, Erishkigal,
(portrayed by Titanya), did a sword dance with a bronze mask on her face, symbolizing the darkness in us all. I
also enjoyed the symbolic birthing dance to a drum solo. As a mother I could truly appreciate the sequence.
I believe the reason the story has endured for this many thousands of years is because it symbolizes the different
sides we all have, a dark and light side, evil and good, and the trials we all need to go through in life to realize
our true self. Titanya's interpretation of Inanna did justice to that. The humor in the piece was a wonderful counterpoint
to the seriousness of the play, and generated a lot of laughs from the audience.
Titanya is one of the best storytellers I have ever heard. She evokes the various moods of the characters by voice,
mannerisms and lighting. The dancing was marvelous. Her play is well done, and I highly recommend purchasing the
video when it is available.
Maria is a professional Middle Eastern Dancer from Boulder, Colorado. She dances at the Mataam
Fez Boulder. In addition to dancing at restaurants, she also owns and operates "Boulder BellyGrams by Maria".
Boulder BellyGrams provides bellydance performances focusing on corporate events, parties, fundraisers, theme nights,
restaurants, bellygrams, children's parties, for both families and businesses. Her web site is located at www.boulderbellygrams.com.