The Shiri Dance Company, a group of contemporary dancers based in Bangalore, has been working since 2004 with a vision to "hone their skills in creating progressive and innovative pieces”. Two years back the group began work on Dance and the City and developed three sections (Working Morning, Traffic and Life in the Cubicle), which were performed as a work-in-progress at the Alliance Francaise in August 2007. The artistic director of the Shiri Dance Company, Preeti Sunderajan, who is trained in Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Chhau and contemporary dance, directed and choreographed this piece, juxtaposing images of the city with movement inspired by the city.
However, the group felt dissatisfied with the limited scope of the original work “with its focus on the mundane face of the city and its outward expression in roads, movement, cubicles and so on”. They felt the need to dwell on something more meaningful and relevant to the way people lived in the city today. This led them to look at other materials about cities—books, dance productions and films—and, finally, to the insight that “every city could be said to be made up of many different kinds of cities like stories within a story.” Preeti explains that since “it is our experiences in the city which determine what the city means to us... I decided that the city has to be read through the different lives of the people who inhabit it. I wanted the stories to be real.” This grant supports the group “to undertake research on people, their lives and their experiences in the city, and to develop our new dance work on the basis of what the research reveals."
Preeti Sunderajan and dancers Ashwini Shridhar, Anitha Santhanam and Abhilash Ninjjappa will begin by articulating and sharing their different backgrounds and personal experiences of the city. These differences will prompt each to explore the city in their own unique way—influencing the particular people they will interview and the spaces they will visit. They will also undertake photo and video documentation.
The researchers will meet frequently to share the interviews they have done and compile their inputs and ideas for images and stories. They will examine the commonalities and differences emerging from their individual research efforts, and select certain persons/situations for further study. This project also involves action research: alongside the primary work of documenting and interviewing, the group will be experimenting with movement ideas based on the information and inputs provided by each dancer, and eventually create a narrative line or multiple narratives which will provide the organising principle for the proposed production.
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 : 2008-0-021
Grantee Name : Preeti Sunderajan
Programme : New Performance
Grant Status : Completed
Start Date : 31-03-2009
End Date : 30-06-2009
Duration : Three Months (One Month Extension)
Grant Amount : 117,000
Geographical Area of Work :
Disciplinary Field of Work : Dance