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    After a five-city tour—with hip-hop dancing, stand-up comedy and more—The Park’s New Festival comes to an end in Chennai

    India’s only private contemporary performance arts festival, The Park’s New Festival—a collaboration with the Prakriti Foundation—is back with its eighth edition. A tipping-of-hat to the resurgence of pride in being Indian, curator Ranvir Shah says he wanted the patriotism to be reflected in the field of culture, too. “My agenda is to show the newest things happening in the fields of music, dance, theatre and the visual arts,” says the founder of Prakriti, who started the initiative. This year, the festival will showcase six performances—as varied as The Black Album, a hip-hop production by London-based dance troupe Avant Garde and Notes on Chai, a ‘devised’ performance by artiste Jyoti Dogra. “We are targeting people who are Indian and India-based. Hence, choices like hip-hop, which is now a huge part of the Indian urban milieu—like Bengali filmmaker Q who uses it in his subversive cinema,” adds Shah. After travelling to the other five metros, the festival will raise its curtains in the city on November 17. We look at the headliners.
    — SPK

    Jyoti DograOut of my System
    Comedy is funny only when one can relate to it—and Azeem Banatwala draws from his life. “This one-hour stand up session is a culmination of my best material, which I’ve built up over the last few years,” says the features writer (with National Geographic Traveller India) turned full-time comic. He promises audience some quirky, observational humour as he speaks on topics ranging from sports and Bollywood to religion and politics. “It’s quite relatable and smart,” adds Banatwala, who also seamlessly weaves in the topic of identity and being a Muslim into his act. November 19, 7.30 pm, Pasha, at The Park

    Filter Coffee
    Started a year-and-a-half ago, this is a collaboration between tabla player/percussionist Swarupa Ananth and flautist Shriram Sampath. “Our music is Indian Ethnotronic—Indian classic and ethnic music with electronica,” begins Sampath, explaining that they team up with new artistes for every gig. “In Chennai, we will be collaborating with classical singer Jahnvi Shrimankar and visual jockey Shreya Naik, who will be showing pictures we’ve shot—linked to the music—to create a story in itself,” he adds. Besides their original compositions, watch out for their lounge version of Mast Kalandhar and the collaborative Mahaganapatham, where the duo and Shrimankar combine Hindustani classical bol and Carnatic konnakol. November 17, 7.30 pm, at The Park

    _DSC1027 Irven LewisNotes on Chai
    This contemporary performance explores urban Indian lives in a non-linear narrative. “I look at everyday conversations, seemingly superficial but that hide an existential need (fears, desires), and I weave in sound explorations (overtone singing and sounds from her work with Dharamsala’s monks). The piece has two distinct forms—one abstract and the other realistic, with characters you can connect with,” says Jyoti Dogra, a Mumbai-based actress-performer and a student of Kathakali and the tribal martial art, Seraikella Chhau. With chai as a running motif, the 100-minute production has received standing ovations till date. November 20, 7 pm, at Spaces

    Between the web…
    This exhibition by choreographer Claire Pençak brings together tapestry artist Joan Baxter, moving image artist John McGeoch, dancer Shamita Ray and composer James Wyness. Blending the short story, The Weaver (by George Mackay Brown, the Scottish poet, author and dramatist), and the sounds of Scottish Borders textile mills, it creates a moving image work that explores dance, sound and weaving. “We can draw parallels between the dying traditions of Madras checks and Scottish plaid. But they are successfully reviving theirs. So what are they doing right? There is so much learning to take away,” explains Shah. Between the Web and the Loom, November 17-20, at the Forum Art Gallery
    The Black Album
    ‘Innovate, never replicate’ is the mantra of the London dance troupe, Avant Garde. “I don’t like to regurgitate anything. I challenge conventions both in hip hop and contemporary dance—in terms of music and movements,” says founder and artistic director Tony Adigun. After playing to full houses on their Indian tour, Adigun is excited to bring his production to the city. “It’s a triple bill. In Omega, five dancers improvise with five columns of light. It’s quite guttural. Classical Break is a cheeky partnership between two break dancers and a ballerina. And Dark Matter is abstract, with all eight dancers taking the stage,” says Adigun, who also choreographs for celebrities like Usher, Mel B and Cheryl Cole. Brought down in association with British Council’s Impulse 2, Mei-kwei Barker, director-South India, says, “Such tours help change perceptions of people in India and the UK,” adding that we can look forward to Filter Theatre’s rock-opera version of Twelfth Night in February next year. November 18, 7 pm, at the Museum Theatre

    K Two
    Performed by dancers Nicole Seiler (Swiss) and Kylie Walters (Australian), this improvised street performance—based on the character of Madame K, a woman who wants to get away from her body (a 2004 multimedia choreographic solo)—explores the limits of the movements of video game characters. So expect fixed eyes and jerky movements. November 23, at Kalakshetra

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