Preethi Athreya‘s Condition of Carriage on 16th October brought a stunning end to the Delhi phase of IGNITE! 2016.
In this work, Preethi and her team together search for an “honest, functional body” and the visual as well as intellectual power of its raw physicality, and in that process they address various politics associated with it. For example, through its almost gender-neutral treatment of the body, but with slight conscious tweaking, it plays with or against cliched readings of gendered bodies.
What do I know about the Dancing Girl statuette from Mohenjo-Daro?
– That it is a small bronze figurine of a pubescent girl wearing bangles and some jewellery in what seemed to me as a predecessor of the odissi tribhanga stance.
– That it was just assumed that she is a dancing girl because of her posture and adornment.
– That Gregory Possehl – an archaeologist – called it “the most captivating piece of art from the Indus site”.
Captivating, it must have been for choreographer and performer Sujata Goel; enough to inspire her to develop the full length work – titled the same – that was featured on Saturday 15, October at the contemporary dance festival – IGNITE!
Engulfed in darkness, you wait in silence for the work to approach. And then…
You see what resembles an arrow head parallel to the floor pointing stage left. It is the bent elbow joint but almost before you have time to figure out which part of the dancer’s body it maybe, you are sealed in darkness once again. The next time you see two mounds about a foot and half off the ground that meet, creating an angle and opening out into a triangular structure towards the ground.
Performer Kalyanee Mulay, along with Vishnuprad Barve, has choreographed unSeen as a statement of dissent. Her on-stage statements address problems which are relevant in our present gendered world. But interestingly, at IGNITE! 2016, on the evening of Friday the 14th, her poignant performance came with its own set of problems, which are part of interesting debates within the politics of expression, creation, activism and art.
Kalyanee is trained in theater forms and her body is not a dancer’s body in the traditional sense; this is a tradition which is not only classical but also contemporary. In fact, everyday body-shaming in India is probably more of a present-day truth than fifty years earlier, thanks also to the current self-projective consumerist lifestyle and the Western aesthetic hierarchy—simplistically put.
IGNITE! 2016, based on the theme of Form, Identity and Dissent, is running. Anyone who has organized a festival of this dimension can vouch for how physically and mentally taxing this could be for the organizers! This week is a high-strung one at Oddbird Theater for the Gati Dance Forum team.
A battle is on between the vibes of the constant preparation, the fatigue that comes with it, and the cheerfulness which is inherent to the team.
So some of them decide to take a breath of fresh air on this morning and visit their spiritual and professional home @Gati…
…to vent it all out thorough spending a bit of time for themselves while also waiting for today’s first program–Vinaykumar‘s master class,…
Sharan Devkar Shankar
IGNITE! 2016 Day 2:
NH7: Choreography -Deepak Kurki Sivaswamy | Dancers – Amaresh Kempanna, Deepak Kurki Sivaswamy
Rush Hour: Choreography – Manju Sharma | Dancers – Manju Sharma, Kunal Sood, Rajan Rathore
Some questions came up at the opening performances at IGNITE! on October 9, and then traversed and lingered during the program last night at the same venue, OddBird. Questions around collaborative creations—of course, but also around gender, race and appropriation of social issues, or even an appropriation of the concept of resistance.
Last night’s program comprised of a film screening and two short performances. During this screening of Director/Choreographer Stephen Page’s debut feature film SPEAR, some of those same questions came up, carrying some interesting and some troubling connotations.
The film was Page’s effort (2015) to bring Bangarra Dance Theatre’s work under the same name, to the film medium. The narrative revolved around a man named Djali—played by Hunter Page-Lochard. This young man stood on the streets of Sydney and visualized himself as going back to his aboriginal roots, while trying to understand what his real existence in his urban, modern world meant. He saw his own reflection in other lost and restless aboriginal souls—torn between their urban existences (upside down realities, smeared with white dust, wings chopped off) and their irresistible roots to the wilderness, which they continuously, secretly desired for.
It is one thing to see a performance as a product and it is another thing to wait for it, to scratch through the process as the insider and the outsider. And the matter of being in and out is one of the most interesting factors when it comes to #INTERSECT this year at IGNITE!—not just for the performers themselves, but also for the whole Gati team and of course, the audience.
The inside-outside debate is there in every collaborative creative work—how much of it is mine, how much of it is yours, how do two artists approach the much anticipated crossroad? Like just a passerby, without really paying much attention to the other, or like finding a friend—sharing a snack and a tea, or like a competitor or even a bully, claiming the road and pushing the other one off to the pavement—outside?