Since 2014, my attention as a performance maker has been on intimate kinds of work. I see the artist (particularly moving bodies) as the very site for the integration of worlds. The work we put out, is a capsule like byte of the processing that takes place in the research, be it embodied, academic, anecdotal or experiential.
Today, I feel that our value as artists lies in our ability to listen - to the community, the zeitgeist and indeed the inner voice. As an artist, I am therefore trying to listen to what is needed. Based on my reading of the energy, emotion and aggression around me and within me, I have, with help from my Animist teachers and the dancers been exploring “ceremony” as a form.
Even months before the pandemic we have been witnessing the wounds of the collective - protests, genocide, casteist and patriarchal violence, hyper-nationalism, privilege, poverty, social injustice, rape epidemics and squashing of dissent to name just some of the collective's suffering. My sense is that I could be of better service if I took a gentler route than I have before in past work.There is heaviness and a fear of the unknown that we are grappling with and even those who can afford lockdowns are hugely burdened with the guilt of that privilege. I am therefore currently staying away from something disruptive and searching for what unifies us. Connection with what is larger than us is a resource and I refuse to give that up. The ceremony works with the bodies and stories of the dancers, within sacred space created by inviting the elements ( our common ancestors) into the circle and by inviting witnesses (audience) without which nothing can happen. Within the set material, stories of the witnesses are invited for processing. This is a Ceremony of Longing and passes through shame, forgiveness, guilt, fear, love and other states to eventually shine the light on our longing. The longing that will shape the emerging world.
Choreography: Diya Naidu
Performance: Paridhi Bihani, Snigdha Prabhakar, Maitreyee Joshi, Diya Naidu
Team: Masoom Parmar, Dipankar Panth, Sudeep Raj
Supported by: The Courtyard and Shoonya - Centre for Art and Somatic Practices