Pro Helvetia New Delhi supported the publication of Tilt Pause Shift: Dance Ecologies in India in partnership
with Gati Dance Forum. Edited by Anita E. Cherian the book has been published in 2016 by Tulika Books
in association with
Gati Dance Forum.
With the objective to enable more readers to access the content in the book, Pro Helvetia will publish through its newsletters selected essays.
Essay: What’s the new message?’ Reading dance in the political landscape of India
Authors: Himalay K Gohel and Parvathi Ramanathan
This essay examines ways in which contemporary dance is responsive to the socio-political environment in India. The authors observe, various facets of this new approach to performance-making that allows it to engage with the present Indian context, through the practice of five choreographers.
Kindly note that the essays have been published online with the permission of the publisher and author/s and cannot be replicated or reproduced in any manner without prior permission from them.
Tilt Pause Shift engages the knotty question of dance in today’s India. It is an investigation of movement, and, in particular, of a ‘marked’ subset of that – ‘dance’. In its many peregrinations it seems to ask, what kind of movement is dance? Most pointedly, it performs the question: What is dance in India? And, relatedly, what is it to dance in India?
In its design, the book offers the reader the opportunity to manoeuvre between the analytic registers of the essays, and the sensuous and performative choreographic portraits. Interspersed between these are curated photo-spreads and imagistic representations of the material traces of performances-in-process. The latter, which take the form of diary notes, sketches and photographs, enhance the reader’s encounter with performances by providing another experiential layer. These residues of performance highlight the significance of process, contingency and reflection to choreographic composition. They are also, importantly, archives of performance in miniature, which reference the processes of the artist and her ensemble, and also perhaps, intriguingly, await reactivation in performance or discourse at some later date. In both the essays and the choreographic portraits, the effort has been to show the diversity of practices and methodologies that comprise the movement ecosphere that we inhabit today.
The contributors to the book include Ranjana Dave, Navtej Johar, Sundar Sarukkai, Brahma Prakash, Paromita Vohra, Padmini Chettur, Abantee Dutta, Shabari Rao, Rajyashree Ramamurthy, Justin McCarthy, Arushi Singh, Veena Basavarajaiah, Rose Merin, Himalay K. Gohel, Parvathi Ramanathan, Anita E. Cherian, Gabriele Wittmann and Esther Sutter. The choreographic portraits have been edited by Gabriele Wittmann and Esther Sutter.
The book has been published with support from Pro Helvetia- Swiss Arts Council, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan and Raza Foundation.
Image: Tilt Pause Shift / PUSHED, choreo. Padmini Chettur, 2006
Photo credit: Jirka Jansch