DanSe DialogueS: Closing Reception
The second edition of the Indo-French festival of contemporary dance, DanSe DialogueS 2014 came to a close on 7th May 2014 with a discussion moderated by art critic and cultural theorist Dr. Alka Pande on: “Locating Dance in India Today: Between Tradition and Contemporaneity” at the Résidence de France.
Attended by over 200 guests, the evening began with an address by the French Ambassador Mr. François Richier who invited the audience to view a film that encapsulated the month long festival across 7 cities in India.
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- Deepti Omcherry ,Carol Meyer, Alka Pande, Max Claudet,Justin McCarthy, Shobha Deepak Singh, Leela Venkataraman,Sadanand Menon
The talks began by Dr Alka Pande introducing each of the panelists, choreographer and photographer Mrs. Shobha Deepak Singh, Dance writer Mme Leela Venkataraman, Arts editor, cultural journalist, photographer, and designer Mr. Sadanand Menon, Bharatanatyam dancer and pianist, Mr. Justin McCarthy and singer, dancer, researcher, author - Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla.
Interesting and diverse points of view emerged. Mrs Leela Venkataraman saying that there is no fossilized thing that is classical dance or modern dance or contemporary dance and that one runs into the other, and that when one tries to communicate to a cosmopolitan audience, when one is trying to preserve one’s cultural identity, both personal and regional, one is pushing boundaries and is doing something that makes it contemporary.
Justin McCarthy brought in an interesting perspective for the largely Indian audience saying that it is very paradoxical as things usually are in India, that while here in India this amazing contemporary refashioning of what could various art forms could have been was being done, India’s influence in the west was helping people come up with the foundations of modern dance vocabulary.
Shobha Deepak Singh spoke of her experience in documenting Indian dance and in the continuing discourse Sadanand Menon later commented that archiving is the beginning of modernity.
Deepti Omchery Bhalla said that she herself is unsure whether her repertoire today compared to what she was taught is contemporary or classical and that it has been a gradual process of growth and when we speak of effective and educative choreographies she is trying to justify that growth.
Sadnand Menon wrapped up the session saying that the break up of dance history as a sort of linear trajectory that went from traditional to classical to a time when it became contemporary and then modern or post modern in time is a flawed idea. He said that while other art forms such as music, theatre, visual arts have been able to engage with their past history to deliver to the future, dance has not. The idea of tradition and modern in the context of dance are constructs not givens according to Menon. He also extended the idea saying that creating of archives and documenting movement and growth is the beginning of modernity.
Ending with the commentt that dance today was a mixed bag and all sorts of body movements that are possible are being explored, this is a quest towards not idealization, but a call of humanizing the body and in today’s time that s what artists and audiences are looking for.
DanSe DialogueS festival of contemporary dance is a contemporary dance platform in India. During its second edition in 2014, DanSe DialogueS featured French choreographers and Indo-French collaborations touring 7 cities (Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum) to present their productions, alongside Indian dance companies. DanSe DialogueS activities range from performances, talks, master classes, screenings and exchanges of French and Indian dance techniques and forms to create original collaborative pieces.
The past decade and more has witnessed much transformation of the cultural scenario in the country in practically every domain. The second edition of the festival DanSe DialogueS provides a perfect pretext and context to dissect and explore this with people who have keenly observed and studied the growth of dance in India