An initiative of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts
Supported by Goethe-Institut / Max-Mueller Bhavan + Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council + Royal Norwegian Embassy
CURRENT ISSUE : ISSUE 7 | VOL 1

What We Do When We Do Contemporary Dance

Ten days of a Writing on Dance Laboratory has triggered these eight writers to ask interesting questions of contemporary dance – its practice, its presentation, its process, its purpose. Through this issue of Ligament, there is an unpacking, undoing and unmaking of this evolving form in order to investigate its impulse, to develop discourse.

Writers
- - - - - - - - -
Asoka Mendis de Zoysa
Kirtana Kumar
Namita A
Nithin Manayath
Ranjana Dave
Roshan Kumar Mogali
Ruhanie Perera
Swar Thounaojam

Contributors
- - - - - - - - -
Manola K Gayatri
Sundar Sarukkai

Editors
- - - - - - - - -
Deepika Arwind
Joshua Muyiwa


Cover image : Richa Bhavanam

The loneliness of a performance photographer

Swar Thounaojam

Swar Thounaojam, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, spoke to the Darshan Manakkal, the official photographer of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2015 on watching contemporary dance through a camera lens and audience reactions to the mechanical clicking sound.

A retrospective of intentions

Swar Thounaojam

Swar Thounaojam, a participant at the Writing on Dance Laboratory, examines her intention for writing about dance and asks tough questions on the curation and the care for contemporary dance in South Asia

Thinking about dance

Sundar Sarukkai

Sundar Sarukkai looks at an ancient Indian way of understanding linguistics to understand contemporary dance and asks if it needs to shift outside the proscenium space to be fully experienced.

Dismembering holy cows

Kirtana Kumar

Kirtana Kumar, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, examines the 28 performances at the Attakkalari India Biennial 2015 to locate excitement and emergence with respect to the South Asian context.

No performance is outside technology

Namita Aavriti

Namita Aavriti, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, argues that everything from standing mics to projectors is technology.

Dance Studies: An emerging discipline

Manola K Gayathri

Manola K Gayathri examines the work of the dance studies programme, researchers and teachers at the School of Arts and Aesthethics in Jawaharlal Nehru University in building theory and research to navigate the shifts in contemporary dance.

Peeling apart the second skin

Asoka Mendis de Zoysa

Asoka Mendis de Zoysa, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, examined the affect of the costumes of the various performances across the various platforms at this ten-day Biennial.

Bauhaus for the contemporary

Roshan Kumar Mogali

Through two performances at the Biennial that recontexualised Bauhaus ideas for the present, Roshan Kumar Mogali, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, hopes to understand what the 20th century school of thought could bring to contemporary dance.

A beginning, an end and an organised detour

Nithin Manayath

Nithin Manayath, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, attempts to understand the role of spectatorship in contemporary through the reading of his own experiences.

All about the bass, no treble

Kirtana Kumar

Kirtana Kumar, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, asks the on-ground festival and production teams three questions to understand their motivation for working at the Attakkalari India Biennial 2015.

The Bechdel Test for contemporary dance group works

Namita Aavriti

Namita Aavriti, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, along with the other participants looked at this test to read film suggested by a graphic novelist as a newer way to engage with the feminist politics of contemporary dance.

To make with community

Ranjana Dave

Taking off from Nithin Manayath’s Wishlist: An Ideal Dance Residency in the Subcontinent, Ranjana Dave, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, reflected on the idea of residency and incubation spaces in contemporary dance.

Sound not music

Asoka Mendis de Zoysa

Asoka Mendis de Zoysa, a participant at the Writing on Dance Lab, looks at the changes in the music to accompanying dance work to the use of sound to create ambience and atmosphere in contemporary dance.

About

Ligament, the online dance journal, has been launched to reflect the keen rise in the interest to contextualise, reflect and voice the goings-on around contemporary dance practices in the South Asian region. It has been envisioned as an avenue that is aimed at prompting and encouraging a sustained engagement between contemporary dance practitioners, thinkers, writers, artistic practitioners from other mediums, stakeholders and the wider public. Over the past editions of the Attakkalari Dance Biennial, there has been a continuous effort to create a space for writing on dance; and with this squarely in mind, Ligament has been conceived as a platform to facilitate the much-needed articulation and thinking through this evolving language. We hope to accomplish this by looking at this artistic practice through the perspective of historical threads that helped shape, through practice and creation of work, which is adding and solidifying the ever-changing lexicon and its presentation, or even through research and scholarship. The endeavour is to make this an open, creative and vibrant forum that invites ideas, contributions and suggestions allowing for the collective development of this artistic practice in the South Asian context; as well as mapping its links and impacts on contemporary dance as a whole. On one hand, it is about looking at contemporary dance as a growing repository of our present realities and on the other hand delving into our rich heritage of physical and performative traditions in an attempt to seek continuum and elucidate the now. In an attempt to ravel the medium of contemporary dance, We aren’t simply interested in text as a mode of expressing, reading, examining and looking at contemporary dance but to reflect the dynamic and interactive nature of the movement arts, we are also looking towards image, sound and video and the practitioners of these mediums to create and catalyse conversations. We hope that dialogue and discourse enabled through Ligament opens various entry points into the ongoing shifts in contemporary dance for its lovers, practitioners, enablers and its future.


- Jayachandran Palazhy
Artistic Director, Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts

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07

What We Do When We Do Contemporary Dance

Ten days of a Writing on Dance Laboratory has triggered these eight writers to ask interesting questions of contemporary dance – its practice, its presentation, its process, its purpose. Through this issue of Ligament, there is an unpacking, undoing and unmaking of this evolving form in order to investigate its impulse, to develop discourse. Writers - - - - - - - - - Asoka Mendis de Zoysa Kirtana Kumar Namita A Nithin Manayath Ranjana Dave Roshan Kumar Mogali Ruhanie Perera Swar Thounaojam Contributors - - - - - - - - - Manola K Gayatri Sundar Sarukkai Editors - - - - - - - - - Deepika Arwind Joshua Muyiwa
06

The Biennial Issue

Ten-days of this contemporary dance festival besides mainstage performances, a presentation of young choreographers and a showcase for emerging South Asian performers will also enable and engender eight writers at the Writing on Dance Lab to look at the presented works, process the multiple conversations – in and around the festival and reflect on politics, economics and discourses around contemporary dance as practice. Editorial Team - - - - - - - - - Asoka Mendis de Zoysa Deepika Arwind Joshua Muyiwa Kirtana Kumar Namita A Nithin Manayath Ranjana Dave Roshan Kumar Mogali Ruhanie Perera Swar Thounaojam
05

Dance Plays Well With Others

The practice of dance has the openness and quality to reverberate, echo, channel, learn and even submit to the sway of the artistic practices. In this issue of Ligament, we investigate its relationship to sound, its ambition to take on architecture, its affect on theatre to grasp at the genius of this form.
04

Looking

What do we look for in dance? What do curators watch for? What is the producer enabling for the the audience’s eyes? What does the spectator see? In this issue of Ligament, we look at the practice of dance from different angles.
03

Dancer in the Digital

In this issue of Ligament, we look at the digital in reference to contemporary dance making, in terms of the digital’s affect on dance – its making, its practice and its preserving.
02

Traditional / Contemporary

In this issue, we look at the tensions, the juxtaposing and the parallels between these two streams of artistic practices through dance makers and commentators.
01

Location! Location! Location!

Our first issue of Ligament is a step towards contextualising contemporary dance in the South Asian region beginning with the idea of location. The notion of the impact of place on the creation, representation and presentation of contemporary dance as an artistic practice.