The seminar titled Pratibimb is
conceived as a reflection on the Ananya Dance Festival organized
by Seher, New Delhi.
Ananya is a festival of Indian classical
dances that features group choreographies of the major Indian
classical forms on a single stage. The seminar is an attempt to
bridge that distance between the performer on stage and the rasikas
in the audience. Pratibimb is envisioned as an interactive session
that will explore what goes into producing the choreographies
we see on stage.
The discussion hopes to have the dancer-choreographers
articulate their own thought process as they create. But also
to address certain larger questions that are so relevant to Indian
classical dance and other performative traditions today.
How does the choreographer engage with
the grammar and vocabulary of classical dance forms, codifications
that are traditional and yet make them resonate in contemporary
times to an audience whose own vocabulary and framework is rooted
in a globalised ‘modern’ world? The journey of Indian
classical dance from the ‘sacred’ to the ‘secular’,
temple to proscenium has been much discussed, but what are the
new spaces that open up for exploration in terms of design when
the proscenium stage is taken to an architectural monument? What
are the changing notions of the body of the performer and how
do those influence contemporary choreographic work?
Tradition and modernity are ambiguous
terms in general and certainly in classical Indian dance. Where
are the spaces for innovation within the grammar and vocabulary
of classical dance? What are the limits of freedom for an artist,
while attempting to be appealing and ‘modern’ through
experimentation and innovation in productions? In Pratibimb, we
seek to get an insight into how the choreographers who presented
their work at Ananya retain the essential spirit of the classical
form, while also being innovative and creative. We also hope to
telescope the dichotomy between body and mind, between ‘practicing’
and ‘intellectualising’- that are often thrown up
to prevent questioning ‘the given’.
The interactive session at Pratibimb this
year also hopes to reach out beyond the classical dance community-
gurus, dancers and students; to other practitioners and students
of other performing arts who work with the body, space and movement
like students of theatre, the visual arts and folk performative
traditions. The attempt is to create a dialogue beyond the ‘classical
dance’ community with fellow artistes-students of the arts
and discuss issues that are relevant and shared regarding expression
using the body as a medium, in a defined space (whatever that
is) with a vocabulary that may or may not be codified, stylised
and prescribed; but attempts to reach out to the audience that
is increasingly an ‘outsider’.
During the two- day seminar, each dancer-choreographer
who presents her/his work at the festival will speak on their
creative process. Choreographers and dancers will be in dialogue
with the moderator, eminent panelists, and most importantly, the
audience. The seminar is a dialogue, led by the choreographers,
but enlivened through the participation of the audience- young
dancers, scholars, students, dance-enthusiasts. All are welcome.
Debate is encouraged.