Dancing beyond boundaries
The Attakkalari India Biennial 2011, the ten-day global contemporary dance festival, is on in full swing with not less than three or four performances at different venues in the City. And every performance is packed to the hilt.
In the young performers series was Ravens, a performance by Kapila Pahilawadana of NATANDA Dance Theatre from Sri Lanka. Ravens re-examined one’s perception of the crow.
The dance troupe forced one to see beyond the conception of a 'bad' bird with a black coat, revealing a dynamic being with feathers traced in cobalt, lavender, silver, and midnight blue. The performance followed a group of ravens struggling to co-exist.
“The Ravens behave just like human beings. They’re sometimes aggressive, hostile, brutal, violent, sometimes gentle, selfless and loving. The raven remains divided, back-and-forth. The piece tried to examine the raven in a new light. Not many people know that these creatures actually cleanse the environment,” Kapila Pahilawadana told Metrolife and added, “It is through infinitely adaptable eyes, the eyes of crows, that Ravens compels us to see our own contradictions, the pain, the mystery and the ugliness married to the sublime.”
Day two had a performance titled Couching Tigers... Hidden Remote by Roche Mascarenhas, Eden Pereira and Ravinder Singh.
The performance captured, in a comical vein, a moment in the fairly redundant lives of three dubious roommates — a weed junkie (played by Eden), who is happy to let his life pass by in a haze of constant blows; an almost caricature-like wanna-be body builder (played by Ravi); and the endearing yet questionable third (played by Roche) who seemingly has no aim in life.
About the piece, Roche Mascarenhas said, “The piece is about three roommates who stay together. It’s about the humour on the couch and who gets to control the idiot box (through the remote). The piece is filled with madness and showcases a lot of humour, skill, technique, style and strength through contemporary dance.”
The third day saw a seminar titled, Thinking Performative and Writing Bodies where the speakers tried to draw a relation between bodies and the arts.
Howard Caygill from London spoke about the effects of changing the body through surgical operations. Sundar Sarukkai delved into the body and motion from a philosophical perspective.