Spaces for Dialogue | #TakeTheCityKolkata : Pickle Factory Season 3
5th – 18th December 2022
What is a ‘body’? What is an ‘able’ body? Who enables or disables it? How and when is a body enabled or disabled? Who says so? How is a body perceived to react – by remaining still or moving – to the surroundings it is situated in? Where does limitation lie?
Spaces for Dialogue focuses on artists, arts processes and works primarily from the field of dance and movement that challenges our perceptions of bodies we encounter. Through performances, talks, interactions, discussions, workshops and exhibitions we are trying to enliven the idea of what constitutes a body and what can be the multivariate relationships between a body and the society. The performances – briefed below – along with talks, interactions and workshops not only give us the reflection of the world we inhabit but introduce us to potentially unfamiliar worlds that may help us reflect on our own.
There will also be focused discussions and talks around inclusivity and access, gender, marginalised communities, power structures and rights and legalities pertaining to the body.
Given the thrust of the programme, we are partnering with schools, colleges, universities, institutes and museums to create a more aware, humane and empathetic society.
Through this segment and using both performance and discourse we aim to highlight how the arts can and do comment on, respond to – and ultimately inspire new thinking around – the values with which we choose to live our lives.
6 Dec ‘22 | When We Come to it
Always unpredictable, the magnificent Maya Angelou unabashedly speaks of women’s side of the story dripped in feminist satire to contradict the white masculine centric social gaze. Angelou reassures me to be myself, be the best, wicked version of female person that I can be. Ironically, though it was supposed to be easy, our familiarity and baggage of conforming to the heteronormative society makes us doubt ourselves.
When We Come to It is a journey with a few poems of Maya Angelou that five people take to define themselves using her words as swords to unleash their ‘self’, otherwise tamed by the social normative. The journey is full of complex questions. What defines a ‘woman’? How are the bodies tamed to be or not to be ‘women’? Is there a room in between Angelou’s words to include those who are questioning? This work in progress is a process where Angelou’s words and our bodies collide to explore certain shared concerns about women, identity and desires.
38-A, American Center, J. L. Nehru Road, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
8&9 Dec ‘22 | 111
111 is a powerful duet between two exceptional dancers – Joel Brown (a paraplegic dancer) and Eve Mutso (a ballet dancer) as they explore their different strengths and vulnerabilities. Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, 111 celebrates the work of disabled artists. It is a powerful and poignant piece exploring different strengths and vulnerabilities, both physical and otherwise. The title of this show derives from Joel Brown having 11 working vertebrae (out of 33) and his perception that his collaborator Eve Brown, being so virtuosic that she appears to have a 100.
NSHM Knowledge Campus
124, 60, Basanta Lal Saha Rd, Tara Park, Behala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700053
Susan Hay, the Creative Producer of 111 will be conducting an Arts management workshop on 5th December at Offbeat CCU.
10 Dec ‘22 | What Talk of Body
What Talk of Body is a performance, a reference to the changing ways in which we, over time and thought and sometimes cruelty, frame the body. Dance unhinges fixed notions of body. For the performers too, this becomes part of a process – an awareness of our tendency to pre-suppose meaning instead of engaging in the wholeness of an act. And so the overlays of word, sound and action – spaces between swaying hip and planted foot, syllable and text, speaking and singing, standing up and bowing low, weight bearing down and feet leaving the ground – are there to suggest other areas of engagement for a viewer. The repeating refrain – ‘What Talk of Body?’ is proposed as both a reminder and a means to re-find our shared bodies as the basis of our living, of our living together.
36/F, Topsia Rd, Topsia, Kolkata, West Bengal 700039
Anoushka will also be in conversation with Paramita Saha for a talk on 8th December at JBMRC.
She will also be conducting a workshop titled “Finding a Personal Practice of Body” on 11th December at The Creative Arts Academy.
17&18 Dec ‘22 | Tavam
Tavam interweaves the different threads of rural women performers’ inroads into a male theater form with Kattaikkuttu’s stigmatized nature as a theater of the rural poor, the social and family relationships within which the women performers have to work and the impact of the pandemic on Kattaikkuttu and the livelihood of performers. TAVAM has been imagined as two journeys in opposite directions: on the one hand, Arjuna’s journey to Mount Kailasa in search of the Pasupati weapon which require him to perform an austere penance (tavam) breaking off his social relationships with the human world and, on the other hand, the journey of five young rural women Kattaikkuttu performers into a socially forbidden, male-only theatre world.
Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Workshops and Interactions
12 &13 Dec ‘22 | Unmute
The Unmute sessions by Dr Arshiya Sethi(online), Somabha Bandopadhay and Paramita Saha take up an intersectional approach to the arts and law as they investigate the deep inequity in the performing arts field caused by abuse of power, systemic patriarchy, disregard for ethics and values, ignorance of legal frameworks among other reasons.
While Day 1 discusses copyright laws in performing arts and the rights performers and how they can claim them, Day 2 focuses on how to address the issue of sexual harassment in the performing arts through positive and proactive organisational action.
The Creative Arts Academy
3 1/2 A Sadananda Road
West Bengal 700026
15 Dec ‘22 | Dance & Parenting Workshop
This Dance & Parenting Interaction is perhaps the first of its kind in Kolkata. It is inspired and led by Saskia Oidtmann who is a member of AG Tanz und Elternschaft, an association and initiative of Berlin dance professionals, with the aim of improving the working conditions of dance professionals in parenthood.
We hope to create a session of support and discussion where artist-parents are invited to share their experiences and discuss what could be adapted to consider their needs.
19, E Topsia Rd, near Chandra Garden, East Topsia, Topsia, Kolkata, West Bengal 700046
Titas Dutta completed her post-graduation from London International School of Performing Arts. She/they have been a practicing theatre maker and performer for more than a decade, working for NSD Repertory Company, The Company Theatre, Shapeshift Collective and many more. She/they have performed extensively across Europe, Australia and Asia. Titas founded an international travelling theatre festival “Whilst Walking Touring Festival” in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Kolkata, Delhi and Agra in 2019 with international artists, which connected with both urban and rural audiences. Soon after Samuho, ‘formally named as Birati Samuho Performers’ Collective was formed where she is now working as Creative Director and actor/performer, Titas is trying to navigate the impact of performance of marginalised bodies in performance as well as in social space. She/they is a fellow of the Future Leadership Program by Australian Council for Arts, for the year 2022-2023.
Joel Brown (Lead artist) is a paraplegic dancer and singer-songwriter. Currently a dancer with Candoco Dance Company since August, 2015, he has toured extensively throughout the USA and internationally with Brown-Rice Productions and AXIS Dance Company from 2011-2014. He has performed work by and collaborated with choreographers such as Trisha Brown, Alexander Whitley, Arlene Phillips, Yvonne Rainer, Marc Brew, Victoria Marks, and Graham Brown and has produced two solo music albums and composed for Graham Brown’s Apple Falling (2013) and You (2015). He was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Performance in 2013.
Eve Mutso is a freelance dancer & choreographer and former Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet, Scotland’s national dance company. Born in Tallinn, Estonia, she graduated from Tallinn Ballet School in 1999, going on to join Estonian National Ballet and returned in 2011 as Guest Principal to dance the title role in MacMillan’s Manon. In 2014, Eve choreographed and performed e|Even as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme. This was followed by Ink of Innocence in 2015, also part of the Fringe. Eve was nominated by the Critics Circle for the 2015 National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical). She has previously been nominated for Best Female Dancer in 2005 and 2013.
Anoushka Kurien is a dancer who lives and works in Chennai. Her choreographic practice looks at framing ideas and experiences of physicality, that address areas of perception and the quality of attention and experience, proposed by live performance. Her solo works are ‘To Be Danced’, ‘In Rooms’ and ‘Restricted View’. As a performer, Anoushka works with other choreographers and her teaching practice has been a support creatively and economically. She also conspires with the artists’ collective Basement 21, performing and finding ways to engage as a contemporary art community in Chennai, India.
P. Rajagopal (Perungattur, 1953) is an all-round actor-singer, director, teacher and playwright who started his professional career as a 10-year-old in his father’s theatre company and took over the ensemble after his premature death in 1971. Rajagopal is the co-founder of the Kattaikkuttu Sangam (1990), a grassroots association uniting Kattaikkuttu actors and musicians across styles and regions, and the founder of the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam (2002-2020). He has been instrumental in opening up Kattaikkuttu to girls and women and a moving force promoting Kattaikkuttu as a theatre in its own right. A recipient of Kalaimamani award from the Government of Tamil Nadu and Dakshina Chitra Virundu for his lifetime achievement in the arts, Rajagopal performs male and female characters and the role of Kattiyakkaran. He composed the script of Kattaikkuttu with his wife Hanne M. de Bruin.
Trina Nileena Banerjee
Spaces for Dialogue Team
Curator: Vikram Iyengar
Co-curators and Month Coordinators: Kunal Chakraborty and Rebecca Johns
Construction: Pranab Mazumdar (Tinka da)
Print: Mridul Mazumder
American Center, Kolkata
Kolkata Centre for Creativity
Associate and Venue Partners
Delhi Art Gallery
Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy
Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre
NSHM Knowledge Campus
Rabindra Bharati University
The Creative Arts Academy
Victoria Memorial Hall