Thanks to everyone that joined us for a fantastic evening of performance and conversation!
Seats sold out well in advance, and we were thrilled to see so many familiar faces, as well as a lot of new ones. If you weren’t able to join us, see below for links to documentation of the performance. Here’s a recap of the evening’s events.
Soham InStudio Performance: Works-In-Progress performed by The Soham Dance Project
and Moving Dialogs Discussion: Moving In/Out of “Tradition”
Soham Dance Space was thrilled to partner with Chicago Dance Month and Audience Architects to present a free public event featuring The Soham Dance Project and a special installation of Moving Dialogs, May 1, 2014. This year’s Chicago Dance Month concept, Open Doors/Open Spaces, was a wonderful opportunity to invite the public into Soham’s storefront studio for an intimate performance and a provocative open dialog with panelists and the audience.
The Soham Dance Project performed Works-In-Progress, which offered a peek into the company’s studio experience as they prepare for their upcoming performance at Links Hall, Sept. 19-21. In keeping with the Open Doors/Open Spaces concept, the performance offered an informal, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the considerations that a choreographer and dancer make in the process of preparing a public performance: space, distance, the viewer’s vantage point, and clothing/costuming to name a few.
The “stage” was confined to a small clearing in the middle of the studio, encircled by chairs. Stripped down to its core, the performance allowed the audience the rare, close-up opportunity to witness the details that demonstrate the emotion and physicality inherent to The Soham Dance Project’s work. Every facial expression, subtle gesture- even the gradual fatigue of breath and muscle- were visible to the audience sitting within arms’ length of the dancers.
The performance was given twice. Following the first performance, Director Anjal Chande invited the audience to choose another seat in the room in order to experience the dance from a different vantage point. The audience’s response following this experience revealed a dramatic shift in perception for some, including one viewer’s completely new reading of the dancers’ interaction and their expressions of intended aggression when she changed her position from one side of the room to the other. This was an unusual opportunity for an audience to experience the relevance of space and proximity to the perception of a performance.
The Soham Dance Project chose to wear street clothes for the performance, evoking “a walk in the park” says Chande, rather than coordinated costumes. They did this in part to reflect the informality and intimacy of this particular event. They also did this to consciously sidestep the baggage of “tradition” and “expectations” that formal costumes can carry, and to eschew a blank slate for contemporary bharatanatyam in that moment.
The performance was followed by a special installation of Chicago Dance Month’s Moving Dialogs series: Moving In/Out of “Tradition”. This global exchange conversation was moderated by choreographer, dance studies scholar and founder of Ananya Dance Theatre, Dr. Ananya Chatterje; joined by dance scholar, artistic director of Toronto’s InDance and Wesleyan University professor, Hari Krishnan; and Soham Dance Space founder and emerging choreographer Anjal Chande of The Soham Dance Project.
The panel led an open discussion with the audience about the concept of “tradition”, how “tradition” is enacted, and what role it plays in the practice of contemporary bharatanatyam dance. One audience member noted how interesting it was to see the shifts in perspectives from academics to practicing performers, ethnic dancers, and artists. For those who missed it, you can read a pre-event reflection on this topic with Dr. Ananya Chatterje HERE.
Documentation of the event can be found HERE. Check back soon for video of the performance!
Much gratitude to Falguni Dewjee and Bombay Wraps for supplying the event with a bounty of delicious mango lassi, wraps and samosas.
This event was presented as part of Chicago Dance Month 2014, and curated by Baraka de Soleil and Audience Architects. We’re so honored to have been a part of this year’s rich, vibrant spotlight on Chicago’s robust dance scene.