At 7 pm today, 19 contemporary dancers from India and the UK will showcase a performance titled Pilgrimage. Where you ask? Well, the address is as accessible as it can get — the world wide web! The troupe will livestream their 30-minute dance recital on YouTube, with Indian dancers staging their act first at Shoonya on Lal Bagh main road. Their Western counterparts will go on next, performing at Exeter Phoenix Theatre, at Devon in the UK.
But this is just a teaser of what makes the ‘Live Stream Project,’ by UK- and India-based Chhaya Collective, unique. The choreography has been conceptualised, rehearsed and finalised via Skype. Chhaya Collective’s co-founder, Kay Crook choreographed the performance, with the help of 10 freelance dancers in Devon, and demonstrated the routine to Indian artistes over Skype. The latter then picked up the steps, added their own moves to the sequence, and livestreamed it back to Devon for feedback.
Trial and error
Crook, who runs the dance collective with Bengaluru-based contemporary dancer and Kalaripayattu artiste, Ajeesh Balakrishnan, tells us, “The skill sharing process went through a lot of trial and error, with Indian artistes connecting through Skype to ask my group to repeat sections of the choreography, while facing different directions, or to break down movement.”Balakrishnan shares his experiences leading the Indian troupe. “During rehearsals, it was challenging to remember that their right was our left and vice versa, as we were learning the dance via Skype. ”
Their experiences coordinating and conceptualising the whole thing will be shared with the audience at the two performance art venues, in the city and at Devon. Crook and Balakrishnan will also speak about how online media can be used to create sustainable creative relationships around the world.
There are three reasons this project came into being. First, the two-production-old Chhaya Collective wants to be a platform for cultural collaboration between India and the UK. Second, to find out if there is a better way to bridge the 5,000-mile physical barrier between these two countries. The idea of “journeying and crossing great distances in order to collaborate” has always fascinated Crook, and that inspired the title of the project, Pilgrimage. Balakrishnan adds, “In December, we will send the clipping of this production to various dance festivals to raise funds for our future work. Crook suggested we do something different. That’s how Pilgrimage started.”
Today, 7 pm.
Live stream on: https://www.you tube.com/ watch?v=wz7dkyda3uy
— Barkha Kumari