IFA’s New Performance programme has emphasised the need to encourage activities in the public domain where constant questioning and reflection on contemporary performance practices are valued and nurtured. Performance residencies are viewed by the programme as one of the ideal tools for encouraging such reflective performance activities.
This grant provides partial support for a four-month residency for emerging choreographers titled ‘Gati Summer Dance Residency 2010’ (GSDR 2010). Run by the Gati Forum, this residency will offer emerging choreographers an opportunity to create and stage their own choreographic works with guidance from mentors.
The Gati Forum, a Delhi-based organisation, is committed to creating a space to facilitate interactions and exchanges among independent choreographers and dancers with respect to their creative processes and concerns. In the Gati Forum’s studio, a range of activities, including daily dance classes, workshops, collaborative projects, exchange programmes, choreography laboratories and dance festivals, are conducted for interested amateur and professional dancers. According to Anusha Lall, a choreographer and director of the Gati Forum, despite the growth of contemporary dance in India, innovative choreographic projects fail to realise their potential due to the virtual absence of systems that facilitate young choreographers to experiment and develop their skills, and the lack of critical engagement with their creative process of dance making.
Against this background, GSDR was established to address the lack of guidance and support for choreographers in the early stages of their careers. The key thrust of the GSDR, therefore, is to help emerging choreographers to explore and test their creative ideas, develop their choreographic skills and build a working methodology for dance creation.
A carefully directed residency provides an environment conducive to developing the interpretative and expressive skills of resident artists and stimulates their creative processes of dance making. As Anusha says, “Developing a choreographic work, whether within a traditional system or outside it, requires not only that new skills are learnt and exercised but also that personal styles, vocabularies and interests are nurtured."
Programme staff had closely followed the working of the first version of GSDR in 2009. It primarily focused on the process of dance creation and enabling emerging choreographers to undertake risk-taking experiments that would not have been possible otherwise As a Bangalore-based choreographer and one of the residents, Veena Basavarajaiah observed after the completion of her work at GSDR 2009, “There are abundant resources based on which a choreographer can generate movements but we lack proper expertise to channelise the choreographer’s process and platforms to share our work. GSDR 2009 gave me space and time to explore and create my own work without any restrictions and pressure of creating a product.” Drawing on the leamings of the first edition, GSDR 2010 will feature a weeklong introductory session. Also, early and timely planning will ensure that technical requirements, such as for light and costume designing, are fully taken care of.
A built-in mentorship programme will play a key role in the 2010 residency. The resident artists will each be paired with mentors who will work with them over a period of ten weeks and participate in a progressive series of intensive sessions. A major role of mentors will be to help resident choreographers develop a critical eye toward their work. For this year, Maya Rao (theatre director and actor), Amitesh Grover (multi—media artist) and Anusha Lall (choreographer and dancer) will be the mentors. They introduce ideas and perspectives from their respective performance practices and stimulate and steer the resident artists’ exploration and experimentation. In addition to the core mentor group, the residency will invite ‘guest mentors’ to advise the resident artists on lighting design, sound and the visual arts.
For GSDR 2010, three or four choreographers with an interest in pursuing experiments in classical and/or contemporary dance forms will be chosen from different parts of the country through an open application process to he artistsvin residence. In addition to regular rehearsals, the residents will get an opportunity to attend workshops, discussions and joint presentations. The residency will culminate with the presentation of original pieces of solo or ensemble performances by the resident artists in New Delhi.
This description is part of the institutional records created by IFA at the onset of the grant. The project may have changed in due course as reflected in the deliverables from the Grantee.
Grant No : 2009-1-011
Grantee Name : The GATI Forum (Anusha Lall)
Programme : New Performance
Grant Status : Completed
Start Date : 31-03-2010
End Date : 31-07-2010
Duration : Four months
Grant Amount : 3,96,000
Geographical Area of Work : Pan-India
Disciplinary Field of Work : Dance