DR REKHA TANDON / Artistic Director
Rekha has pursued an individual path as a performer, choreographer and researcher, informed by a long-standing yoga practice. Her work has explored the common ground between classical and contemporary values in dance practice. This has encompassed her approaches to embodiment, choreography, performance and teaching. She is also a certified yoga teacher from the Bihar School of Yoga.
Rekha had 17 years of traditional training in odissi with Ms. Madhavi Mudgal, Guru Trinath Maharana and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She received the Charles Wallace Arts Fellowship UK, and subsequently the UNESCO Artist’s Bursary Award, for further dance studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, from where she was awarded a PhD in 2005. Her thesis examined odissi from the perspective of Choreological Studies, and her seminal ideas on the tantric body map as a blueprint for Indian dance, were first published in 2008 by the IGNCA New Delhi, as part of the Narivada series. Her book, Dance as Yoga – The Spirit and Technique of Odissi, published by Niyogi Books, New Delhi takes this discussion forward.
Rekha’s formal engagements have been supplemented with explorations in other energy-based bodywork techniques such as Qi Gong, Pranic Healing, Reiki and Somatics. It is this broad perspective on different ways of viewing the body, informed by Choreological Studies, that has made Dance Routes’ contribution to odissi so distinctive. She has collaborated extensively with her partner British composer and videographer Michael Weston on live performances and dance videos since 1995. Her solo performances have been presented at many venues in different parts of the world since 1988. She started the Dance Routes Repertory Group in 2006 comprising gotipua and sahiyatra performers, with whom she created choreography that wove together folk story telling and acrobatics with the chiseled vocabulary of classical odissi.
Since the move to Auroville, she has choreographed on dancers from different disciplines and mentored projects using odissi and contemporary dance, also developing works using meditative ritual movements for solo performance.
Postcards from the Past
MICHAEL WESTON / Musical Director & Administrator
Michael Weston began his professional life in pop music in London in the 1980s and was part of the Lilac Time, before turning to write music for a variety of media, including film and television.
Since 1997, he has been designing productions for Dance Routes, providing original musical compositions and musical arrangements, as well as administrating the company. He has extensively documented Odishan culture, particularly adivasi music, and is currently creating an audiovisual archive on odissi’s resources.
An important underlying aspect of his life has been his personal involvement with Skanda Vale, a monastic community in Wales, UK, and his biographic work on its founder Guru Sri Subramanium. By establishing Skandavan in Auroville’s neighbourhood, it has provided an opportunity to mirror ashram life, whilst living and engaging in the world.