Dance

Breaking free

Members of the Avant Garde Dance Company.  

Art is often a cruel mistress—the sort who expects absolute devotion and makes the most whimsical demands of you. She may own your body, your heart, your soul, your every waking moment, yet isn’t loath to abandoning you, when you need her the most. But as every artist discovers—once you have been touched by her, you cannot leave her. She takes you to places you have never been to before, drawing you into that effervescent, fragile, multi-faceted realm of creativity and imagination, a tunnel whose end is not just light but identity itself.

Tony Adigun, creative director of the Avant Garde Dance Company knows this.  His passion for the arts has been driving him to do what he does, for almost 15 years now, “I started dancing when I was 19 and I still am. I’m lucky to get paid to do something I love but this isn’t for the weak-minded,” says the 34-year-old, who wears several hats and constantly swaps one for the other.  

“Dance has been a part of me all these years but my first passion is music. Photography is another passion as is film. If I hadn’t been a dancer I probably would have been a graphic designer or a DJ or a filmmaker. I don’t believe in boxing things. I believe all forms of art feed into each other and I am inspired by it all,” he says.

Here in the city to present his latest production titled,  The Black Album as part of Impulse 2, the British Council’s second season of contemporary dance, and The Park’s New Festival 2014, Tony says that, “ The Black Album is a triple bill showcasing three distinct pieces of my work in it. The first, titled  Omega, is based on five individuals and is highly contemporary in structure and style.  The second, called  Classical Break, attempts to correlate musicality with physicality; two BBoys and one ballet dancer articulate the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Prokofiev through their movement—it’s like watching music,” he says, adding that  Dark Matters, the third piece, will see all the eight dancers come together in a powerful series of movement that examines the beauty of darkness. “I have always been intrigued by the idea of negativity and present it in a series of dark visuals,” he says.

Like all his other work, music is at the very heart of the movement.

“All three pieces examine the relationship between music and movement—musicality is the key here, the reason I create,” he says. “ The Black Album is an emotional narrative that is open to audience interpretation. It is about their history and what they have gone through and I leave them to find what they want in it. I believe there is always a story to discover—whether the narration of it is obvious or subdued. And I must say that  The Black Album is what the Avant Garde Dance Company is about,” he says.

As the name suggests, the company is all about pushing boundaries, experimentation and reformation. “I come from a hip hop background and completely align myself with the movement. I hope to transmit the ethos of it through my work — it is all about going against the grain. I don’t like to define dance or music — it is essentially art and nothing is forbidden, nothing should be.  I don’t tie myself down to styles and titles.

I don’t claim to be contemporary or hip-hop, the music and the movement comes from the way I feel and there is a constant juxtaposition of one art form with the other," he says. “That’s what this is about — to be creative, to be free and to be what I want to be."

Avant Garde Dance Company will perform in Chennai on Tuesday, November 18 at Museum Theatre, Egmore at 7 p.m.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:42:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/tony-adigun-creative-director-of-the-avant-garde-dance-company-interview/article6608367.ece

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