What does practice mean in the absence of work and traditional ways in which we materialise our dance, i.e, classes, workshops, residencies, work. Daily conditioning of our bodies, improvising to house music, meditation, walks, chats, observation when space has contracted to the floor of our rooms, chair in the kitchen, sofa in the lobby. Room dancing and thinking has enlarged the possibilities of this body even though space asks me to reassess my limits.
What would decolonised dance look like? Do our ideas around reading space and time also need to change to plan a re-configuration of new dances.
Phrase-less dances and long improvisations that allow expansion and contraction of space and attention and take a leap of imagination. What modes of being surface when we watch dance and allow for that dance to be witnessed over a period of time. The solo in the solo dancing in an i-sol-ated landscape, creating and producing geographies of imagination that build new connections and ways of nurturing growth.
How do I nurture a desire to dance and is dance the heart of the matter? What is the theater of dance, the music of dance, the maths of this dance – many dances, not one, not a singular dance. It contains my history. Not the form of it. The dance of it – my education, my interests, my family history, my preoccupations.
Labour. Intellect vs manual labour. To do and to understand. To understand and to do. The physical commitment, the immersion, the suspension of belief, to value the never exhausting power that lies in the moving body. To rejoice in the sweat, the warmth, the poetry.
Commissioned by Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds on their third year students, this was a week long exercise to create a short piece for Leeds Light Night to be performed at Yorkshire Dance.
Awarded as part of Kalasangam’s Artist Takeover Residency in Bradford in 2017, I decided to explore some questions related to labour, dance and manual work. Manual- ness of work rather than manual work. This was a fruitful time of dancing just outside educational structures and has made me look at the practice of labour in my dance.
First proposed as a solidarity to the wave of protests seen across India in the winter of 2019. A cry to create space for desire, power and freedom. To the moving and the movement.
It was a mess of religion and politics and cows and country and citizenship, and corruption and pollution, deaths and division, and countries and infrastructure and no studio space, no performance space no rehearsal space and finding and searching and looking and supporting and getting hit and getting hurt and police and violence and education and students and learning and sitting and shouting and marching and going towards and running away and despair and noise and fear and hope.
“I saw your performance … and I was left awestruck. Your movements are like water”
Supported by Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi. Thanking Puneet Jewandah, Mallika Chabba Harleen Duggal and Louisa Borgcostanzi-Potts for their friendship and continued support.
A Fragile Geography is a delicate trio of connection, intimacy and offerings in a world growing old everyday. This dance came about in a three week residency at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds as part of Northern Connections.
Performers : Kathryn Hewison, Akshay Sharma and Isobel Ripley
Duration : 20 mins
Performed at The Riley Theater, Leeds
Supported by Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds, Yorkshire Dance, Leeds, Spin Arts and Arts Council England.