But contemporary dance seems to be popular with most groups.
Metrolife interacted with two groups— one from Iran and the other from Karachi. The dancers say they learnt, practised and now teach dance despite all the restrictions in their respective countries.
The three young men from Iran — Majid Sarnayzadeh, Reza Garibzadeh and Mohammad Hamzavi — are on the move. Not only literally, but aesthetically too. These young men, in their mid 20s, have moved away from their traditional occupation just to pursue their passion for movement arts.
The movement artistes from Iran, who are here in Bangalore to perform as part of the Attakkalari Festival, began learning classical movements with the assistance of CDs, Internet and tapes.
They followed the steps in the video and tried to replicate them in real. They built upon the movements given in the video and also incorporated their own.
“It wasn’t easy for us. We began with theatre and soon moved on to the movement arts. We would talk to our friends who came to India and ask them to bring back CDs for us,” explains Majid Sarnayzadeh. Majid observes that the group began with the classical form and later moved to the contemporary movement. “There’s a lot of experimental movement that we do. We often club movement with theatre,” he adds.
Majid and his group practice for more than five hours a day. “It’s a form of relaxation and a great exercise. It soothes the mind and sharpens your thinking,” he says.
In Bangalore, the three men will perform Kariznew and Punchi. The first piece is inspired by the ritualistic performance of Wazoo, a practice of cleansing oneself methodically before prayers in Islam. Kariznew attempts to draw a parallel between dance and worship and sees dancing as a form of worship which requires devotion. In Punchi the body is used as the instrument of storytelling with the help of murals.
Huma Naz and Mohsin Ali are from Karachi, a place that rarely makes news for arty reasons. Huma Naz’s love for dance as a young child prodded her to tell her mother to put her into a dance school. And her curiosity for the art only grew and she began to explore the various dance forms.
The classical dance forms were not enough for Huma Naz to express her creativity. She explored further and realised that contemporary dance was the only way she could express her creativity in full.
“I slowly began learning all the dance forms such as Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi and to learn bharatanatyam and kathak I came to India. It is here that I learnt to mix different styles of dance and realised that I could express well only in contemporary movement,” explains Huma. She soon collaborated with Mohsin Ali and the duo have been performing together for eight years. “We learn and practice with the help of CDs and the Internet.
We try and mix different styles together and invent our own,” adds Huma. Huma and Mohsin seem to have dedicated their life to dance. “More than relaxation, dance is therapeutic. It heals and is an excellent stress buster,” says Mohsin. The duo make sure they eat less of oily stuff and pack their diet with lots of fruits and veggies to give them the much-needed energy.