"Dancing with the Lens" Digital Dance Exhibition
Image: Screenshot from trailer for Romeo and Juliet
Dancing with the Lens is a distinctive digital dance exhibition, meticulously curated with the primary objective of fostering awareness among younger generations about the diverse Indian classical dance forms and, notably, the Chhau Dance from Purulia. The exhibition, which has been in the planning and organizing stages for several months, incorporates a range of elements, including in-person interviews and the utilisation of ethnographic techniques. The field studies were carried out in five different states (Assam, Haryana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and Puruliya (a remote town of Bengal) in India. The journey in the making of this exhibition was a special one.
Eminent figures in the world of Indian classical dance, such as Saswati Sen, Bhaswati Mishra (Kathak), Jatin Goswami (Kathak), Bichitrananda Swain (Odissi), Neena Prasad (Mohiniattam), Kalamandalam Venkitt (Kathakali), Sujata Ramalingam (Bharatnatyam), Bimbavati Devi (Manipuri), Srimayee Vempati (Kuchipudi), and Gaur Kumar (Purulia Chhau), have played a pivotal role by sharing their invaluable insights during the exhibition's creation.
The exhibition is curated by Odissi artist Sriradha Paul, who undertook the challenging task of showcasing the intricate nuances of eight Indian Classical dance forms and the Purulia Chhau dance style. Her approach involves viewing these dance traditions through a dual lens that combines their ancient historical roots with contemporary interpretations. The overarching vision is to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between seasoned practitioners and the younger generation, as well as learners and art enthusiasts.
Sriradha Paul's Expertise
Sriradha Paul, not only an accomplished Odissi performer but also an independent researcher, brings her extensive experience in both practice and research to bear on this unique exhibition. Her exploration delves into the intricate details of Indian dance movement vocabularies, the diverse range of costumes, distinct origins, and captivating storytelling, all of which are integral components of Indian dance disciplines. The goal is to cultivate an awareness of the rich tapestry of Indian dance styles and, in doing so, foster connections across cultural boundaries through the medium of art.
The "Dancing with the Lens" digital dance exhibition commissioned by Mukul and Ghetto Tigers is open to the public for one month, running until September 29th, at the Brady Arts Theatre in London followed by a grand festival “ Rhythm of Images” featuring diverse Indian classical dance styles and Indian music on 30th September, 7 pm onwards at the same venue.
In conclusion, "Dancing with the Lens" serves as a remarkable platform for celebrating the multifaceted world of Indian classical dance while bridging the generational gap and transcending geographical boundaries through the universal language of art. It is a testament to the dedication and passion of Sriradha Paul and the collective wisdom of the veteran gurus who have contributed to its creation. This exhibition stands as a beacon for the preservation and promotion of India's rich dance heritage.