The theme of this year’s Attakalari Biennial is Frames of Dance

The Attakalari India Biennial is round the corner. The contemporary dance and digital arts festival, that will take place from January 25 to Feb 3, will feature performers and delegates from across more than 20 countries including Austria, Burkina Faso, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Norway, Mexico , Switzerland, South Korea and the UK.

The theme of the festival is Frames of Dance. “These frames can be geographical, cultural, sociological, religious, linguistic, national and personal and through these frames we will be looking at dance from multiple perspectives,” said Jayachandran Palazhy, Artistic Director, Attakalari Centre for Movement Arts in a recent press conference launching the Biennial. “In today’s context, dance is coming to the centre stage of the cultural scenario in the country. There is a new enthusiasm and energy you can see in dance,” he added.

Jayachandran explained that one of the main characteristics of the festival was its interdisciplinary nature, artists would be working on lights, digital arts, music compositions, choreography and even theatre and film.

He also said the festival will have multiple strands: a “Centre Stage”, where celebrated artistes from around the world will be presented, “Platform 13” in which emerging choreographers from South Asia will present their work and “Facets” that showcases the works of the 16 choreographers from across the world who took part in the choreography residency.

The festival will feature “Time Frames”, a presentation of an arts-in-education initiative by Margie Medlin, a media artiste from Australia, and “Transitions”, a seminar curated by Sundar Sarukkai, director of the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Margie Medlin and Jayachandran.

Speaking at the press conference, Swiss choreographer Nicole Seiler, one of the mentors of the Facets residency, said “Choreography is more than just steps, it is also about being able to communicate with the light designer and composer, and putting it all together to make a piece. That is one of the things that is special about the programme.

To this effect, musician Joseph Hyde (U.K.) and light designer Horst Muhlberger(Germany) spoke of the role of music and light in contemporary dance performances.

Joesph talked about how music can be mixed to the advantage of the dancers, so that the music works for the dancer rather than the dancer timing his steps to the music. He also spoke of how electronic sounds can make the performance more interactive this way by making it responsive to the movement of the dancers.

“Music can be controlled by dancers and they can be performers not just of dance but also of music. I’m interested in this, in turning dancers into musicians and also making them control multi-media.”

Horst, who has been lighting dance for over two decades, spoke about how lighting guides the audience into the dance and how its role has expanded in today’s world of digital media.

“For me, dance and stage is one of the most complex ways of communicating between the audience and the dancers. Lighting in dance therefore is an open field, where we can construct a piece and offer audience special insights or a way of seeing what’s going on.”

The Biennial will unfold across various venues in the city including Ranga Shankara, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Goethe-Insititut/Max Mueller Bhavan and ADA Rangamandira. For details, call 22123684 or 41483584. For tickets, visit www.bookmyshow.com. ]