While dance is one of the most ancient forms of self expression, the director of the annual Attakkalari festival laments that modern society provides few avenues to explore the rich possibilities of contemporary dance. “Dance offers a primeval connect, both within ourselves, and in terms of people, locations and contexts,” says Jayachandran Palazhy. Hence, the forthcoming edition of his biennial has a Dance Connect theme. The festival will host artistes from the UK, the Netherlands, France, Spain and South Korea, as well as home-grown talent, at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Ranga Shankara and the Alliance Française.
This edition, is receiving recognition from the Karnataka tourism department for the first time. “They want to make it a regular feature in the state’s calendar,” shares Palazhy. The biennial will also host a delegation from the European Dancehouse Network. “We’re the only institution in Asia to be a guest member,” says Palazhy, adding that the 10 delegates will be exploring meaningful ways of collaborating in the future.
The opening tonight promises to be spectacular, with Tao dance theatre from China set to perform, guided by choreographer Tao Ye, known for minimalist experimentations, performing in over 30 countries to date. Palazhy also encourages dance enthusiasts to catch Philippe Saire, a choreographer from Switzerland. “His piece is set in a boxing ring with the audience looking down onto the stage. There can only be 50-60 people per performance,” he says. The finale, by Delhi-based choreographer Mandeep Raikhy explores society’s perceptions of masculinity.
`100 upwards. Until February 15. Details: attakkalaribiennial.org
— Maegan Dobson Sippy