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Akram Khan Company India Tour 2012; by Farooq Chaudhry January 29, 2013

Posted by nehajaiswar in Impulse.
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In September 2012, Akram Khan Company undertook a six-city tour of India with its dance production Gnosis. The company performed in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. The tour was a partnership between Akram Khan Company, the British Council and the Prakriti Foundation in India. It was an intense schedule whereby the company spent three days in each city – a travel day, technical set up day and performance day. It was Akram Khan’s first tour to India after a gap of nine years. The programme was a balance of classical kathak and modern dance. After the success of Akram’s section in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and his ever-increasing status as an internationally renowned artist, the expectations in India were high.

When the company first toured India in 2003, the audience was of an affluent high status fashionable crowd, as such one gets at major opera houses in Europe. This time around the audience was much more diverse. It was great to see many young people, students, and established and fledgling artists. The audience was much more knowledgeable and enthusiastic than previously, and it was an immense pleasure to share our work with them. They were more in line with the audience demographics we get in London and Europe, and
it was very reassuring to see how India is embracing more contemporary expression and accepting the fact that it is more relevant to its evolving culture. In my opinion, Gnosis performance has attracted more attention because it was a mixed programme of classical and contemporary dance, Akram’s enhanced status and the programme was part of a touring festival arranged by Prakriti foundation. All venues were suitable for showcasing our work though there still remain issues over the availability of good quality technical resources.

Akram and I conducted workshops as part of the programme. Arts managers and artists mainly attended the workshops. That’s no surprise because of the workshop programme focusing on dance producing and dance creating. It was a real mix of experienced professionals and those who have just entered the market. I believe the expectations of those that attended were realistic and it was an enjoyable experience to share processes with those who were hungry to learn. As I said earlier the primary expectations of participants was to understand how they could develop their own creative process, rethink the best models for managing their organisations, being better leaders and thinking how best their work could be positioned and developed in the context of a “market.”

We did not really have time to establish any collaborative opportunities on the tour apart from hiring a local musician who appeared to learn a lot from working with Akram and his company. We did however meet with a very promising young choreographer called Deepak Shivaswamy. He had just won a choreography award and we decided to support him by inviting and paying for him to attend a creative process with Akram in Europe and to mentor him through the creation of a new work he is making. Aside from Deepak we met many
talented artists and we certainly sense the tour has paved the way for future collaborations.

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Scottish Dance Theatre and us – an experience we will never forget. November 1, 2012

Posted by nehajaiswar in Impulse.
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By – Mokshaa Akkamma Kuttayya, Class 12, Abacus Montessori School, Chennai

Part of a Scottish Theatre group from Dundee in Scotland worked with us for about an hour and fifteen minutes. The energy in them and their enthusiasm was contagious and all of us participated actively. They made us do some movements to loosen up and we also played some games that involved these movements. They then split us into groups and made us draw patterns on the floor across the room and also use the movements from earlier in the pattern. We also had to be coordinated within one group and use signs from each other as cue to change movements. At the end of the session they performed a small part of their piece for us in which energy they had was quite mind blowing.

Overall it was an amazing experience because none of us had ever attended any workshop or session like it. Everybody enjoyed it, even the boys (which is saying something, although they will deny it). It was interesting to see the way a dance/ theatre group works and their style of dancing was really vibrant and refreshing.

It’s that time of the season again October 10, 2012

Posted by nehajaiswar in Impulse.
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It is hard to forget the buzz, the busy-ness and the excitement of the Akram Khan tour. 17 days on the road and boy – what a ride it was! It has been 3 weeks since we all came back from the buzz and before we know it – it is that time again.

While we are getting to grips with workshops, talk sessions, sorting the dance mats, sorting the rehearsal spaces, pre-rigs and what not, Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT) is packing their bags for a smooth landing in Chennai next Thursday. They are a very enthusiastic bunch – a whole range of workshops and showcases await them and they are asking for more. If there ever was a packed schedule for a company, SDT’s schedule would beat that hands down.

They start their tour with workshops with school kids, dancers, under privileged children, special needs children and their teachers; a lecture demonstration with school teachers and talk sessions with technical teams. They bring acclaimed choreographies of James Wilton, Hofesh Shechter and Liv Lorent and we are just waiting in anticipation to feast on the performances.

I know it is going to be double manic – just considering the strength of the team and the places they have to be in. i know it is going to be double hectic – but I also know it is going to be fun like all the rest has been. Something about arts and its environment –the most serious problems are fun to solve, the missed meals don’t affect our bodies and even the latest late nights are fun to be lived! Cannot wait to get more action… see you guys around!

17 days on the road, 6 cities, 4,700 direct audience, 15,000 online reach – and a success story named Akram Khan Company India Tour 2012 October 10, 2012

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Impulse, our season of contemporary dance from UK, kicked off with a 6 city tour by Akram Khan Company. After opening the London Olympics this year, Akram Khan and his company brought down their work – Gnosis – to India which is based on an episode from Mahabharata. The tour encompassed showcases and talks by Akram Khan and Farooq Chaudhry on choreographic inspirations and the business of dance respectively.

 

Akram was accompanied on stage by guest artist Fang-Yi Sheu from Taipei and 5 exceptional musicians on Cello, Percussions, Violin and Vocals. As much as the choreography needs to be appreciated, the live music needs much more appreciation as that sets the mood in place and adds more depth to the performance. The show was an audio visual marvel – with graceful dancing, soulful music and exceptional play of lights.

 

All of us who worked on the project, could not help getting emotional during the opening show in Chennai and after seeing the response. The freight not reaching on time, lights being brought in from Amsterdam, dance floors, media, the magnificence of the technicals – all were worth it!

 

The emotional complexity of Akram’s work talked through and the audience felt the pain, turmoil and rebellion of the characters. It was no wonder then that the audiences all over the country graced the shows with packed houses, standing ovations and cheers, much to the delight of the company.

 

Where Chennai saw a full turnout on a rainy evening, Hyderabad saw a full turnout on a day when dance recitals by famous Indian artists were happening in the city simultaneously. Bangalore and Kolkata were eager to witness the splendour of Gnosis; Mumbai and New Delhi saw who’s who of the dance and theatre world show up to witness the sensation that is Akram Khan.

 

The talks along with the showcases, were very well received by the dance fraternity – as can be seen by the participation. It was good to listen to the producer – choreographer duo as they discussed about the dreams, aspirations, business of a dancer and dance.

 

Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi audiences would never have had such a treat before.  And this is just the beginning ….

London Experience January 12, 2012

Posted by British Council India in Young Creative Entrepreneur.
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About YCE

The British Council has been pioneering to build a strong community and professional network of creative businesses, through the reward programme Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards. The awards help nurture enterprise across seven categories – design, music, fashion, screen (film, TV and animation), interactive (software, entertainment, games and social media platforms), performing arts (theatre, dance and “live” art) and publishing. It aims to inspire and facilitate the sharing of best practices in building skills and access to resources, professional development, markets, mentoring and resources to increase business opportunities between India, UK and internationally.

YCE  2011 -Designs

YCE 2011 award was very special because unlike other awards it did not end on stage with trophy, but it actually started on the stage. YCE opened a new stage for us and offered an amazing journey , which even if you pay millions you would not get. As a part of YCE winner, British council planned a visit to UK for almost ten days, with events packaged for us with interaction, exposure, fun and learning. I was looking forward to meet other 23 winners from over 19 countries, truely once in a lifetime opportunity.

London

  

London is awesome for many things but I specially like  sweet smell in the air and seasonal day ( there are seasons in a year, but in London you might get all of them in a day ! ). It is fun to walk all around in London, and  nothing like exploring the city on bicycle, thanks  to awesome support system created for hiring , returning bicycling ..

Truly International

23 winners from 19 countries, I couldn’t even imagine what it will be like to meet and spend time with such a diversed  set of talented people. In my wildest dream I wouldn’t have imagined that I would know so much about design and life in Estonia, Poland, Syria Turkey, Vietnam , Mexico and more.  Each one of us had a very unique style of work and cultural values, but there was one thing in common; entrepreneurial energy. Everyone was on the same path of exploring their dream but on different stages of evolution and experiences. It was nice to see how each one has his/her own way to manage their own context and create magic  with their work. Thanks to British Council for putting all of together, it was decade worth experience condensed in a week.

London Design Festival

London Design Festival and London Fashion Week happens  at same time of the year, and i guess , it is not a coincidence, it is planned to pack as many design activities to promote London as creative hub of the world. Other interesting fact, all these events are privately run organizations. In context to Indian scenario, whole lot of us were hoping that Indian Design council, NID, or CII will run such activities, but I am convinced that it is not sustainable. We also need entrepreneurs initiating such activities here, and I think IDC, CII or Govt will happily support.

100% Design

100 % Design is been great platform for designers to showcase their talent in home products, furnishings, and lighting. Visitor ranging from buyers, stores, distributors, and general people make the show very special. it has become launch pad for many upcoming designers to show case their talent.

100%  Design is very keen to have India pavilion in 2012 show and we have initiated the discussion amongst IDC and NID to explore this further. I will be personally pleased if we could take part in next edition of 100% Design and share new and notable with rest of the world.

 

Investing in Indian Creative Industry

One of the key program of YCE award was to connect all designers to investors and see how design could play larger role in creative industry economy. There is great deal of interest from investors in Indian creative industry , especially in Design. This was the really the key outcome of  YCE award, and this program includes mentorship to the Indian design firms to make them investor friendly and bring investment and partnerships which will impact the overall economic contribution in big way. It will also open up opportunities for many international collaborations with Indian design firms.

I would like to thank British council for creating such wonderful launch pad for all of us, especially  BC teams from India and London for making our experience  memorable and enriching . Beyond all the business rewards from the program, there is one more thing I value the most; friendships with  people from so many countries, truly a treasure.

Post by – © Abhijit Bansod
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