Indo-Korean Dance collaboration presented at the Attakkalari Biennial, Bangalore

TRACES, a unique Indo-Korean Dance collaboration between the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India and Dance Theatre CcadoO, South Korea was co-commissioned by InKo Centre with support from Arts Council Korea in July 2010. TRACES will feature as a process presentation at the ten-day long Attakkalari India Biennial, an international contemporary dance Festival in Bangalore in February 2011.

Attakkalari and CcadoO have tremendous synergy in their aesthetic application of interactive digital design with contemporary movement. Attakkalari is India’s premiere organization working in the field of contemporary movement arts. Their programmes include Education & Outreach, a Diploma in Movement Arts & Mixed Media, Research & Documentation, the Attakkalari India Biennial and the Repertory Company. The multi media dance theatre group CcadoO aims at exploring the core of humanity and objectivity through interdisciplinary performances and collaborations. The works of CcadoO are simple, have a psychological dimension and are transfused with unexpected and enjoyable elements. Although, artists from both the companies have visited and performed in each other’s countries – this is the first instance their creative alliance.

With Jayachandran Palazhy and Hobin Park (the Artistic Directors of Attakkalari and Ccadoo respectively) at the helm of this cultural exchange, the production features artists from both the countries as well. Hemabharathy Palani, Denny Paul and Diya Naidu from the Attakkalari repertory will perform alongside South Korean dancers Bo Ra Mie Lee, Junki Kim & Se Hee Hong from CcadoO. Korean artists Jongbumi Choi’s media design and music composition by Yong Joon Yang will complement the choreography by Jayachandran and Hobin. Seon Joong Yong has designed the lights with additional light execution by Shymon Chelad.

Taking its cues from festivals, celebrations, and fair grounds in India and South Korea- the collaborative work TRACES will attempt to create suspended spaces oscillating between reality and imagination. The idea and treatment of time as continuous and “ever present” borrowed from Buddhist and Hindu philosophy forms one of the anchoring points for this synergetic piece. Seemingly discordant images, metaphors, characters will coexist in the suspended spaces – defying conventional notions of time and place. This particular vantage point will provide the artists with an opportunity to delve into their memories and visions while freely moving between the past, present and future.

In July of this year (2010), dancers from Attakkalari along with Jayachandran Palazhy were invited to Seoul for a three week residency and choreographic exchange with Dance Theatre CcadoO. The collaborators found this time invaluable to their artistic process. They noticed both commonalities and differences between their cultures and movement languages – the reference points for certain images and ideas varied amongst the artists – but this only led to enriching their aesthetic process. Their personal experience and the multiple connections made during the residency have enriched their creative thinking and have in turn influenced their work in TRACES.

During this first phase of the project in July, Jayachandran led the movement material and choreography development along with Hobin and the dancers. In addition to working and rehearsing in studio with their collaborators the Attakkalari dancers also undertook intensive classes in Tai Chi led by the South Korean facilitator So Han. The CcadoO hosts in Seoul were extremely generous and hospitable and arranged for the Attakkalari artistes to see numerous contemporary Korean performances.

Through this exposure, the Attakkalari dancers have had an opportunity to reflect on their own practice. One of the dancers Diya Naidu, while contemplating on the experience characterised CcadoO’s movements to swaying water plants in contrast to the grounded earthiness found in Attakkalari’s movements.

Attakkalari’s rehearsal director - Hemabharathy Palani was impressed by the gentle yet disciplined approach that the CcadoO dancers employed in their studio rehearsals. The third dancer – Denny Paul noted the extensive use of release based techniques and the focus on breath by the CcadoO dancers. The TRACES experience additionally underlined for the dancers the richness and intricacy found in Indian movement forms.

Jayachandran found a synergy with Hobin in their shared concern for the development and future of Asian movement languages. At Attakkalari, Jayachandran continues to develop a contemporary movement language which draws from India’s own particular traditional performance lineages. All the activities at Attakkalari are in fact driven by its motto: “Traditional Physical Wisdom, Innovation and Technology.”

Attakkalari has been engaged in intensive research on the movement styles of Bharatanatyam (stylised classical Indian dance) & Kalarippayattu (martial art form from Kerala) which has resulted in the NAGARIKA series - integrated interactive information systems on DVDs. This research has concurrently influenced the development of the Attakkalari movement vocabulary.

Jayachandran and Hobin’s shared concern for traditional physical wisdom and innovation will be highlighted at the TRACES presentation and also at the inaugural performance of the Attakkalari India Biennial.

The dancers and collaborating South Korean artists will arrive in India in late January for the second phase of this artistic exchange which will be led by Hobin Park. The Attakkalari dancers are looking forward to working again with their collaborators. At the end of this ten day residency and the presentation at the Attakkalari India Biennial, TRACES is intended for further performances in India and South Korea.

About the Attakkalari India Biennial 2011

In addition to the process presentation of TRACES, the 2011 Attakkalari India Biennial will see a host of artistes from different parts of the world and will run from 28 January to 6 February 2011 in Bangalore. The focus of this edition will be on the work by Young and Emerging Choreographers and also the development, production and dissemination of their work through a peformance network across smaller towns and rural communities in India. The Biennial will also serve to enhance cultural understanding and critical appreciation skills amongst audiences and writers.

Apart from international performances in auditoriums, installations and site-specific work, the Attakkalari India Biennial will also host master classes for dancers by visiting artists; a week-long choreography laboratory for young choreographers; Dance on Camera - a selection on films dedicated to dance; a three-day seminar on ‘Body, Performance and Articulation’ and an intensive dance appreciation programme for South Asian journalists led by internationally reputed writers. For further information click on www.attakkalaribiennial.org

About Arts Council Korea

Arts Council Korea was established to promote creativity and enjoyment of the arts by supporting diverse arts and cultural activities in Korea. The Council consists of eleven dedicated professionals from the cultural and arts sector in Korea. The Arts Council also places emphasis on the establishment of arts infrastructure. It facilitates the rise of practice-oriented policy implementation in line with the increasingly sophisticated cultural environment of Korea.