Veena Basavarajaiah

TooMortal

Image Credit: JP Masclet

Image Credit: JP Masclet

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company 
As part of the London 2012 Festival 
St Mary’s Church, Stoke Newington
 
Thu, 2012-06-28

We gather at the cemetery adjacent to St Mary’s Church at Stoke Newington before ritually being led into the sanctuary of the old building. Standing at the altar, we haphazardly position ourselves like an unrehearsed choir facing the congregation of empty pews. The high ceilings and ancient pillars also appear to be anxious for the performance which is about to commence. Six female bodies unexpectedly emerge amidst the pews to the sound of chiming bells, their probing movements suggest that they are excavating the space until they lower their bodies gravely back into the pews.

Gati Residency – An Abode for New Work

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Image By: Soumit & Soumita

Creating work without a frame of reference is a common phenomenon among independent artists in India.  They fully devote their time and effort in order to create a piece of work but are often lacking in direction.  Anusha Lall realised the urgent need for an artist-friendly atmosphere which would enhance the choreographic process.  As a result, Lall initiated the Gati Dance Forum, a non-profit Public Charitable Trust run by dancers for dancers which leads workshops in technique and choreography and presents the work from dancers, young and established.  In November 2010, Gati hosted IGNITE!, a festival of contemporary dance that showcased acclaimed work from artists across the world alongside the best of contemporary artists from India.

A salient feature of the forum is the annual Gati Summer Dance Residency (GSDR), where chosen choreographers are provided with financial support, individual mentoring, rehearsal space and production assistance.  As one might imagine, to conceive a residency for emerging choreographers of the Indian subcontinent is a colossal task.  Ambiguous definitions of ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ often places artists, and their work, into grey areas of identity.

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