Spandan 2014 comes to an end with a varied evening of dance this Monday

The India Habitat Centre grounds on a white hot afternoon look unusually lively, decked up with the large format photographs of Spandan, the World Dance Photography exhibition. Office employees on their lunch break can be spotted gazing long and curiously at the displays scattered across the grounds.

The second edition of the annual event, “conceived, curated and executed” by R. Sreenivasan — ‘Sreeni’ — comes to an end this Monday with an evening of dance performances.

“Spandan celebrates the human spirit inherent in each one of us, that bursts out in every dance form,” says Sreeni.

The exhibition includes the works of over 30 photographers from different countries. The festival also pays homage this time to well known performing arts photographer Avinash Pasricha, who has been capturing artists at their inspired best for the past 50 years, transitioning from the age of dark rooms and manual prints to the digital era.

There is a strange alchemy between dance, a part of the world’s intangible heritage, and the photograph, which, in its stillness and frozen-in-time constraints, is as tangible as they come. What constitutes a good dance photo, and to whom goes the credit for a ‘wow’ moment? The photographer who pressed the shutter just at the right time, or the dancer who jumped to that height, expressed to that intensity, or attained just the right angle? Or does the credit go to both for managing to ignore each other’s presence and rise above their respective techniques to create a lasting memory? Great photographs send one on a thoughtful journey, and some of the photographs at Spandan do just that. Others are just beautiful; some intriguing; others attractive in their simplicity. The exhibits are accompanied by brief descriptions as well.

By placing the display around the open spaces of the Habitat Centre, the photos are made accessible to lots of folks who might not otherwise go to see dance performances. This is definitely one of the positive features, not just of Spandan but of World Dance Day (April 29), which this year seems to have inspired celebratory programmes across the NCR.

It remains to be seen whether the open-air exhibition brings a newer audience to the performances on May 5 that bring the event to a close — scheduled to take place at the Habitat Centre’s Stein Auditorium. The programme, starting 7 p.m., includes Kathak (Astha Dixit), Sattriya (Anwesa Mahant), Bharatanatyam (disciples of Geeta Chandran), Mayurbhanj Chhau (disciples of Guru Janmejoy Saibabu), Egyptian Belly fusions (Meher Malik and team with Latino/Spanish ensemble, etc.)