Dance Acts as Muse for Global Artists at Bengaluru Festival | bangalore
Dance has a divine effect when it comes to connecting people. And when dancers from all over the world come together for a festival, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience! The contemporary movement and digital arts festival titled Attakkalari India Biennal (AIB) is making a comeback, albeit in a hybrid format and after a one-year hiatus.
With the theme and motto, Inspire Bengaluru, the festival is set to captivate Bangalorians as well as virtual audiences around the world, and returns to a time when the performing arts are struggling to get back on their feet. “A virtual performance is not a replacement, but it is the next best thing after a live performance. And we have this provision in the festival,” says Jayachandran Palazhy, contemporary dancer and artistic director of the Attakkalari Center for Performing Arts. He adds: “During the pandemic, we have organized about 30 dance events linking different parts of the world, with small physical audiences, but broadcast live around the world. These learnings have helped us organize this And now, viewers can expect cutting-edge performances and masterclasses by dance companies from Switzerland, Korea, the UK, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands.
The opening act of this festival, Sthavara Jangama, is a site-specific walking multimedia performance inspired by the architecture, arts, literature especially of the Vachana poets and the culture of the Vijayanagara empire. It will be performed by Attakkalari Dance Company and German artist Christian Ziegler will create interactive images inspired by Vijayanagara architecture. Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy, who composed the music for this opening act with MD Pallavi, explains: “The title Sthavara Jangama signifies stillness and movement. It’s a question of space, architecture, time, body, memories. It is a question of looking at the movement and the stagnant, the changing and the immutable, in the mystical and historical sense, in the sense of space and time. The Vachana movement, which said that everyone can access their higher self regardless of caste and gender, is very rich in music and had an impact on all mystical movements and philosophies, including in the Vijayanagara empire.
Berlin-based virtual reality theater collective CyberRäuber will present dance installation CyberBallet as a standalone VR experience. Bjorn Lengers of the collective says: “Marcel (Karnapke) and I were very interested in exploring dance as a very specific and pervasive form of movement confronted with what we ordinary humans can do. Dancing is all over the world, and I would say everyone likes to dance, even if it’s just a little and when no one else is watching… So wouldn’t an Artificial Intelligence be, if it tried to understand what it’s like to be human, do you have to understand what it’s like to have a body, how to move it, how to dance with it? So, as part of this event, visitors will wear VR headsets and headphones and be invited to join in the dance performance, if they wish.
Besides dance performances, there will also be film screenings at the festival. Club Guy & Roni, a contemporary dance company based in the Netherlands, will screen a film titled Mamushka, directed by dancer Roni Haver, after the loss of his parents. Her story is a poetic exploration of Mother Nature’s changing seasons and the fleeting memories we hold within ourselves.
Talking about this festival cannot be complete without the installation, Swan Lake The Game, a reimagining of the Russian ballet classic to interpret the challenges of the 21st century, blending the themes of escape, responsibility and choice into one performance. . Wim de vries from the National Interdisciplinary Theater Ensemble says: “During the pandemic, we have created Swan Lake both online and offline. In offline version in the rooms, the public walked in small groups from one space to another, seeing different numbers. Online, we offered a unique online experience; with plenty of agency from where to look and what to see. Online audiences not only create their own narrative, but also affect that of theatergoers. After each act, you will be asked to make a choice: Who will be the black swan? How will the story end?
Festival highlights also include Winter School, a series of masterclasses led by some of the best international choreographers and artistic directors, dance films, Playground — a workshop by Swedish dance group Memory Wax for children aged 9 to 13 years, a dance writing laboratory, and the AIB Open Studio. Sharing how the festival is an exercise in transglocal community arts engagement initiative, Palazhy opines, “It will connect local and international dance communities through immersive experiences, in which many Indian artists can collaborate within the international contemporary dance scene.
Catch it live
What: Indian Biennial of Attakkalari
Or: Attakkalari Studios, Bangalore International Centre, Ranga Shankara; www.aib.net.in
When: January 7 to February 7
Author tweets @siddhijainn