Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts to host an interactive performance for infants


Babies’ day out

Cute and annoying are perhaps the oft-used adjectives to describe babies. The latter is used for random toddlers who bawl at a cinema hall, or on a flight or train. And, the little ones belonging to those we know have to be called cute (at least in front of them). Rarely we treat babies as beings with intelligence. This is why Australian dancer Sally Chance’s Touch and Go, an interactive dance performance exclusively for two and three-year-olds at Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts on December 7 and 8, seems intriguing.

In the 45-minute show (approximately), two dancers and a guitarist will entertain their little spectators (accompanied by their parents) and entice them to the performing area. The objective of this exercise, Sally says, is “to nurture the imagination of children as well as engage them in a playful environment. They have much to teach us if we are open to their ideas.”

But will the children remember the performance they witness?

“Memory is complex,” responds Sally, “What they will remember will be more implicit than explicit. They won’t remember the date, time or venue of the event. But will remember that they went to a friendly place. They will remember that there were adults around them who took an interest in them. It will be stored in their subconscious.”

Sally’s interest in dance for babies began 12 years ago, when she headed a children’s art festival in Adelaide. “I noticed there were works being made for very young audience and I wanted to do it myself.” She has been a practising dancer for 30 years and lectures at the School of Education, Flinders University’s Arts and Education program.

From her decade-plus experience of working with children younger than five, she refutes the notion that toddlers are usually impatient audiences. “Yes, some of them do cry and we alter our performance according to their reaction. And, the parents, at any point of time, can take them out if needed. But usually, they really know how to be an audience. Some come closer to the performing area and actively participate. And the others participate just be intensely watching the performance.”

Jayachandran Palazhy, the artistic director Attakkalari, recalls witnessing a programme similar to Touch and Go for children (albeit, older than five) during a visit to Scandinavia in 2012. “What interested me in the work was that, at the formative years, we are able to give them an artistic and cultural input that will help them to grow up in a sensitive manner. It is almost like a pre-verbal communication,” he says.

Attakkalari, from December 3, has been conducting a four-day workshop headed by Sally for creative professionals and child educators.

Jayachandran says his school has also been teaching traditional dance practices to neighbourhood school children. “It is our responsibility to give a better world to them. We need to equip them to be gentle towards fellow citizens and to the other beings. So, hopefully, we will have a better world.”

Tickets for Touch and Go are available at The show has limited seating (only 20 children and a maximum of two adults per child per show) and prior booking is mandatory.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 1:49:59 AM |

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