Platform has been a constant leitmotif of the Attakkalari India Biennial. A program envisioned to promote and nurture emerging talent in the contemporary movement arts and dance making space in South Asia, the past editions have seen original ideas and fresh choreographies being presented by young dancers and choreographers who were cherry-picked for it. It is great validation that many of them pivoted off this platform to find recognition on a global stage.
The tradition continues this year with four incredibly talented and award-winning Indian dancers showcasing their independent choreographies for Platform 22.
Day 2 : 11 FEB 2022, FRIDAY
Artist Lineup: Rukmini Vijayakumar, Devansh Gandhi & & Ritu Varier
Venue: Ranga Shankara, Bengaluru
Day 1 : 11 Jan 2022, Tuesday
Artist Lineup: Priyabrat Panigrahi & Sanjukta Sinha
Venue: Ranga Shankara, Bengaluru
Raadha Kalpa Dance Company | Bengaluru, India
Rukmini Vijayakumar is artistic director of Raadha Kalpa Dance Company and director of Lshva, a creative space for artists in the heart of Bangalore. She is the founder of The Raadha Kalpa method, an educational system for Bharatanatyam that is based on the idea of neutrality.
Rukmini has studied Bharatanatyam under Guru Padmini Rao, Guru Sundari Santhanam and Guru Narmada. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, her process of creation is both traditional and contemporary. She was a recipient of the Jiří Kylián grant for choreography and a resident choreographer at Korzo Theater, Netherlands in 2018.
As a soloist, she has presented her work all over the world including at venues such as the Jacob's Pillow festival, Drive East NYC, and the Korzo Theater. Recently, she played the ‘Goddess of love’ in ‘Sukanya’, produced by The Royal Opera house in London. Her productions have toured India and the world extensively.
Abducted (40 mins)
Abducted is inspired by stories of abduction and retribution in India and around the world. The image of a submissive, helpless woman is repeated through history, across cultures. It is an image that is used to sell commercial merchandise repeatedly. The representation of a physically strong woman in films and comics is largely attached to the physical objectification of women. Can we represent strength and power in a female body without it also carrying sexual appeal? An archetype of a powerful woman who is feared by all is represented in the Indian goddess Kali. Kali is embraced as a figurative female energy who holds within herself the ability to annihilate evil and rejuvenate life. She is sensual but does not cater to the male gaze as a sexual object. She is also not ‘pure’ in the sense of being devoid of sexual energy. At which point does the abuse of power bring out the Kali in us? Abducted sets to find out.
Devansh Gandhi & Co. | Bengaluru, India
A contemporary dancer and choreographer, Devansh started his dance journey in 2016 as a student of Dance Inc India in Ahmedabad. He did his Diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed media from Attakkalari in 2018-19. As part of the Attakkalari’s inhouse performing unit he has been a part of many productions including Savage by Lucas Kruse. Besides dancing, Devansh dabbles in filmmaking and editing. A dance instructor, he conducts online/offline workshops in contemporary dance techniques and Bollywood freestyle.
Black is the Colour (45 mins)
The story of Black is the Colour started as a personal journey for Devansh in order to understand and connect with his experiences of sleep paralysis and insomnia. What causes sleep paralysis? Why does the mind feel trapped? What is the significance of black and why does the colour have negative connotations? The dance work attempts to find answers to these questions.
The choreography of the piece is a constant play between the relationship of an individual with themselves as well as other movers. Creating the piece involved working with breath patterns, glitches, improvisations, playing with darkness and light to unveil unconscious impulses and fears triggered through the subconscious mind.
Itthā Dance Theatre | Mumbai, India
Ritu Varier is a Mumbai-based contemporary dancer. A graduate of contemporary dance and arts management from De Montfort University, Leicester, she runs a contemporary dance company called Itthā. She hopes to make contemporary dance accessible in India.
For AIB Open Studio, Ritu Varier and her group will be presenting Hurriya, a story of two women finding friendship in the midst of despair which eventually leads them to freedom: Hurriya. This dance piece is inspired by the characters Mariam, Laila and Rasheed in Khaled Hosseini’s novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Through this odd love triangle, the dance work explores emotions of hopelessness, rage, possession, trust, love, and freedom.