Form | Identity | Dissent

The three-day conference at IGNITE! 2016, from Oct 14 – 16, 2016, resonates with the festival’s theme of Form, Identity, Dissent. It takes off from concerns explored and raised during Joining the Dots at IGNITE! 2015, which proposed a series of deep engagements with individual dance makers who have very perceptibly forged a distinct identity for themselves both within and in contrast to the contexts they work in.

Form |Identity |Dissent places the body at the centre of a complex interrogation that considers how the body has been informed by, and informs, several processes, politics and histories. We are used to talking about the creative process from the singular point of view of the choreographer. But what if we think of performance as labour, viewing it from alternate perspectives like that of the dancer or actor? Is the body subversive? Is it a free agent? Is it resistant? Is it endangered? Is it political? The dancing body is encouraged to speak independently, distinguishing itself from the multiple discourses that it is subject to. How does its voice shift our understanding of the performance as ‘product’?

Radiating outwards from the body, we begin to look at dance practice in its various historical, social, political and personal contexts. How does the body acquiesce to form and dissent from it? How does it incite discontinuity in largely continuous narratives of pedagogical transmission? How does it negotiate the boundaries of public and private, personal and performative? In becoming an archive of itself, and of learned practice, what is the body’s capacity for self-reflexivity?

At a juncture where the landscape of contemporary dance is changing quickly, informed by a hybrid range of practices and approaches, we feel it would be beneficial to use these questions to map current practice within a longer context of experimentation.

Finally, Form |Identity |Dissent places contemporary dance in an interdisciplinary web, where conversations are had in the realm of ideas. This strand of the conference emerges from How to Stage, a series of interdisciplinary conversations between performance makers, archivists, anthropologists and cultural theorists in the interest of unearthing a discursive ground for the language of multiple practices. Then, the act of making and creating is interpreted as a set of choices across mediums, and there are fluid connections made between the body as text, as archive, and as the canvas for a set of actions that can be studied and discussed beyond a particular language.

Form |Identity |Dissent is curated by Ranjana Dave in collaboration with Priya Srinivasan and Zuleikha Chaudhari.