A durational online session with Shivaangee Agrawal and Mandeep Raikhy discussing the embodiment of Indian dance in our current world. Based on their artistic practices and concerns, they invite diverse perspectives from guests across India and the UK, with contributions from Priyanka Chandrasekhar, Avni Sethi, Sandra Chatterjee and Navtej Singh Johar, and invite a dialogue revolving around the following questions, arriving at no neat conclusions.
Can classical Indian dance become a language that allows us to critically engage with the world? How does caste interact with the dynamics of race as Indian dance becomes global? How do we acknowledge the brutal histories in dance forms such as Bharatnatyam? How do we encounter the somatically informed iteration of a form that upholds a nationalist agenda? What exactly is enshrined within a form? Where are the delineations between form and pedagogy? Can these forms exist within a secular framework? How does the question of access negotiate with the notion of specificity? How does the question of access meet the culture of commodification?
To watch the video with closed captions, click CC on the bottom right of the screen.
London Adavu Practice and interview
This conversation was accompanied by a durational adavu practice session in partnership with London Adavu livestreamed from Siobhan Davies Studios. Dancers from London Adavu network were invited to be with the event by Shivaangee and Mandeep. Adavus are the key technique units that dancers practice globally in Bharatanatyam. Two practitioners, Vinod Nair and Swati Seshadri were interviewed to speak about their relationship to the forms.
This short video document shows edited excepts of footage of the studio day presented here as a compliment to the above discussion of Articulations/Tensions/Negotiations.
Shivaangee Agrawal is a dance artist with a practice that concerns choreography, writing and advocacy. Having trained in bharatanatyam in both London and Bangalore, Shivaangee has worked with a range of choreographers/directors including Janine Harrington, Shane Shambhu, Evie Manning, Sonia Sabri, Seeta Patel, Jo Tyabji and Suba Subramaniam. Her work establishes and draws from peer-support, rejecting the individualism that we are pushed towards. Shivaangee makes work that is informed by collectivity, rhythmic structures and disorientation and has presented work at Blue Elephant Theatre, Southbank Centre, Watermans Theatre, Bloomsbury Festival, Kala Sangam, Resolution Festival, Next Choreography Festival and Dance Umbrella Croydon. She is currently and always trying to relate to bharatanatyam in a way that makes sense. It’s complicated.
Mandeep Raikhy is a dance practitioner with a particular interest in exploring the intersections between dance creation, performance, research, and pedagogy. He completed a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban in 2002 and then toured with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, London between 2005 and 2009. Since 2010, Mandeep has created several dance works, notably Inhabited Geometry (2010), a male ant has straight antennae (2013) and Queen-size (2016) and Anatomy of Belief (2019). These works have travelled across the country and internationally. Mandeep has been committed to developing a supportive environment for contemporary dance in India through several initiatives such as Gati Dance Forum, Khuli Khirkee and the MA Performance Practice (Dance) at Ambedkar University, Delhi.