project archives » 2011



Part I - December 2010
Part II - February/March 2011

The ‘Dhara-Auroville Dance Encounter’ was a collaborative project of the KAI Trust and Bharat Nivas, Auroville for which the KAI Trust received the Cultural Functions Grant Scheme, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

The project was conceived as an intensive one-month workshop in February/March 2011 that would not only introduce children and professional dancers from within Auroville’s master plan to the acrobatic skills of Odishan gotipua dancers, but also to the unique odissi repertory created by Dance Routes that builds on yoga and gotipua skills. It was also an invaluable opportunity for the gotipuas to expand their worldview through interactions with Auroville and the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.

The workshops
Three popular venues were selected for the one-month intensive: the SWACHU open air space at Bharat Nivas’s entrance; the basement area of the Square and Circle Art Gallery, next to the Aurobindo Auditorium within the complex; and the cultural centre of Thamarai in the village of Edyanchavadi adjacent to Auroville. The following participants performed at the conclusion of the workshop:

1) Thamarai Cultural Centre:
(Ages 8 – 13 years)

2) Auroville:
Terra Oxana Kafina (Russia), permanent resident; Anisha Costa (Portugal), permanent resident; Karolina Szwed (Poland), short-term visitor

3) Odisha:
Purnachandra Maharana
Biswanath Jena
Bhanupriya Naik
Lakshmidhar Sethi

The core group mentoring the workshop as it developed comprised: Dr. Rekha Tandon (odissi dancer/choreographer/researcher) Mr. Michael Weston (audio-visual documentation/music composer) Mr. Purnachandra Maharana and Mr. Bishwanath Jena (senior gotipua dancers and teachers who have trained in KAI projects earlier) and Ms. Karolina Szwed from Poland (dancer/gotipua researcher, currently training in odissi with Rekha Tandon) provided teaching assistance, especially for traditional bandha movements.

Ms. Ana Costa, who had trained extensively in gymnastics in Portugal, and Ms. Terra Oxana Kafina, who had circus training in Russia, provided all participants an opportunity to try new acrobatic movements and marry them into the traditional gotipua repertory under the artistic direction of Rekha Tandon.

The Performance (1st March 2011):
The final performance was of one-hour duration. Innovative group choreography that combined acrobatics, gymnastics, yoga and classical odissi dance was offset by Odishan pattachitra paintings and drawings used in back projections.

1) The project provided an opportunity for in-depth sharing of worldviews amongst participants from different parts of the country and abroad.
2) Tamil children from villages in and around Auroville had close interaction with Odishan gotipua artists and learnt movement skills.
3) The visiting rural Odishan artists partook in the multicultural social and artistic environment of Auroville, as well as its philosophical ideals, and made friends with a wide section of people.
4) The occasion provided an opportunity for highly skilled dancers from Portugal, Russia and Poland who were in Auroville to engage with local Tamil children and the visiting rural Odia artists, and to exchange worldviews and dance knowledge.
5) The concluding performance showcased a tapestry of Odishan classical and folk dance skills in a high quality production to Auroville’s cosmopolitan township.

Copyright Danceroutes.credits