The last few days of the ‘Attakkalari India Biennial’ saw some excellent and some average performances. At Ranga Shankara, the ‘Bereishit Dance Company’ from Korea took to the stage to explore the decreasing space between sports and dance.
Choreographer Park Soon-ho, in the piece titled ‘Pattern and Variable’, used the martial arts form of judo and combined it with the rhythmic movements of dance, to create a contemporary dance form that looks to bridge a gap.
The fine lines that exist between the different forms of movement are hence distanced and the fluidity is achieved. Park views sport as a way to control, mediate, traverse and transcend the violent urges within us.
The piece therefore deployed the symbolic meaning of sport as a counterpoint and frame reference and presents it through a medium of dance, the harmonious play between rhythm, movement and space.
This is the second time the group is performing in the festival. Dressed in black, the dancers, a combination of men and women fought, fell and lounged at each other in the most sensual and graceful way possible.
Each time a dancer hit the floor and a ‘thud’ rippled through the auditorium, the audience cringed in pain, even as the dancers sprung up with cat-like litheness.
The next show was the ‘NB Projects’ by Dutch choreographer Nicole Beutler, also at Ranga Shankara. Titled ‘4: Still Life’, it distilled elements from the long history of partner dance. Working with performers Marjolein Vogels and Benjamin Kahn, Nicole explored how the movements of a man and woman, onstage, are interdependent on the surrounding light, music and the space around; how their bodies merge and how intimate or distant they can be.
At the other end of town, Aditi Mangaldas and her dance company performed a piece called ‘Timeless’ at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The skilled kathak dancer asked questions like ‘Is time reversible?’, ‘Does time stand still?’ and ‘Is it cyclical and is it flexible?’
Along with these, she asked many more questions about the nature of time. Her kathak skills shone like the sun on a summer’s day. The last shows were at Ranga Shankara, one by Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire and the other by Mandeep Raikhy, an Indian.
The former was about materialism, an elegy to our darker side and an appeal for self-contemplation.
The dancers left behind traces of their movement as the ground was strewn with black granules. Mandeep explored notions of masculinity using stereotypes, games and touch in his piece titled ‘A male ant has straight antennae’.