Ignite Fest will be based on Indian classical dances (With Image)

November 3rd, 2010 - 11:53 am ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) The “vocabulary will be completely Indian” and based on Indian classical dances, says leading Bharatanatyam dancer Anusha Lall about the four-day Ignite Festival of Contemporary Dance that will see leading Indian contemporary dancers and repertories from across the world perform in the capital next week.

“Dance needs constant promotion in India because every contemporary dancer in India (and of Indian origin), depending on their mode of training, is now developing a distinct mode of expression. While some dancers use vigorous movement from classical dances, many have made the delicate choice to free themselves of classical traditions to come up with a personal language to make a statement. Indian contemporary is as exciting as any of its contemporary western counterpart,” Anusha Lall, the director of Gati, told IANS.

The Nov 10-13 Ignite, to be presented by the Gati Dance Forum, will bring together performances, master classes, workshops and exhibitions to offer viewers an experience of contemporary Indian dance and capture the metamorphosis of the genre over the decades to become a new age tool of expression and communication.

The festival will feature some of the leading contemporary dancers and repertories like Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (UK), Sudesh Adhana (Norway), Daksha Sheth Dance Company (India), Attakkalari Centre for Movement for Arts, The Post Natyam Collective (US, Germany and India), Navtej Johar, Fabian Barba and the Padmini Chettur Dance Company.

“The is the first festival in which all the contemporary dances will be Indian in origin - like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Odissi and others. They will be rendered by Indian dancers drawn from across the world. The vocabulary will be completely Indian. The choreographies essentially will be a search for expression and innovations within the mosaic of Indian classical dances,” Lall said.

The aim of the festival was multi-pronged, Lall said.

“We want to give quality Indian contemporary dance public visibility, showcase creativity and innovation in Indian dance, encourage new talent, create a pan-India network of dance companies and foster debate and discussion to carry the art form to the next level. We have even set up a web portal (ignitedancefestival.com) to generate awareness about contemporary Indian dance,” Lall said.

In India, dances need to be supported all the time because “it is something one cannot sell,” Lall said.

“One of the reasons why Indian dance has not been able to find a secure place in the mainstream is the fact that it is not commercially viable. You can sell art, but you cannot sell dance. How do you hold on to something that is ephemeral? It is important to realise the importance of this art form - and support it all the time. For me Gati is an opportunity,” she said.

Lall created Gati in 2007 to provide a platform to choreographers with “infrastructure support, space, logistics and technical expertise to create their own acts”.

The organisation’s sprawling studio space in a quiet neighbourhood in Nizamuddin (East) hosts regular classes and training modules, two summer residency programmes and academic sessions.

Lall, who trained in Bharatanatyam under renowned danseuse Leela Samson and later studied contemporary dance in England under Shobana Jeyasingh, realised that “there was a vacuum in contemporary dance development in India”.

Lall has been choreographing her own performances for the last 15 years.

“Several dancers did not get an opportunity to explore their own choreographies outside the gurukul system. There was no support structure and community space,” she said.

Gati tried to address the vacuum.

“It is a floating forum - with a core group. We invite dancers, trainers and experts both from the country and abroad to facilitate growth of the genre. We have invited stalwarts like Venezuelan dancer, teacher and improvisation master David Zaambrano and light and video designer Jonathon O’Hear to help dancers design their visual acts,” she said.

Lall also collaborates with artists from other disciplines such as theatre, video, sculpture and digital art to discover new impulses to create new work.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

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