A dance workshop, headed by dancer-actor-choreographer is on at Attakalari. There is no music, yet the dancers are moving – some fast, some slow, some on the floor and some on their toes. All this while Antonio sits in a corner watching them. He gently gives them instructions, which the dancers follow to the T.
The workshop is the second edition of Attakkalari’s Essence programme, which is jointly organised in association with Max Mueller Bhavan.
Essence is said to be a training intervention offering dance professionals the opportunity to access training with international mentorships, masterclasses and workshops. It comprises a series of short-term programmes, where intensive and rigorous dance training is facilitated by a team of dance teachers and artists.
Once the class ends, Antonio talks about how his teaching may help dancers. The focus of the workshop is on “breathing, technical guidelines and body. The dancers have to not just feel the movements but develop an awareness about every part of their body. Most of us are not aware of the little things and movements that our body is capable of. The aim of this workshop is to help discover, explore and expand that aspect too,” says Antonio, who has worked with the legendary Pina Bausch.
According to him, it is crucial for a dancer to be aware of his/her body as “if that is not happening, then you can’t be a dancer. If you are aware, you can move and create movements. Else, you will get stagnant. The more aware you are, the more you get to decide what you want to do with your body,” he explains.
He reveals the benefits of dance on one’s mind and body. “Dance has given me life. I took to it at a very critical point in my life. I was on a path of self destruction. Dance helped me concentrate on gaining knowledge and expressing myself using movement,” says the man, who soon found himself working as a professional dancer with big names like the Pina Bausch Company, Jerôme Bel and Amos Gitai.
About what the students will learn from this workshop, Antonio says “five days is a short time and it is very egoistic on my part if I say this is what I will be giving my students. Instead, I would rather like to see what they can take away from me and my teachings. I would like to see them grab on to something that will enrich them.”
The workshop concludes with a studio performance on March 31 at Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts.