Bharat Sharma

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Over one year

This grant supports the planning and execution of the second run of Chaali, a highway performance circuit for contemporary dance. Funds have also been allocated for travel, to raise additional resources for the initiative, and for processes leading up to its institutionalisation. Bharat identifies six major objectives for the second round of this performance tour in south India. The first objective is to expand performance opportunities, which will imply consolidating and expanding the network established during the trial run across Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Since great distances separate one performance venue from the next, in some sectors, the planning for the second run will focus on adding new venues, optimising time and resources. The second objective is audience development. Issues related to contemporary dance and its audience will be surveyed and analysed, with special emphasis on the role of various factors that shape audience sensibilities. Workshops and lecture demonstrations will be planned more meticulously, connecting issues of performance with community development. In a bid to generate more audience participation, video seminars on trends in national and international contemporary dance will be arranged. IFA communicated to Bharat that audience-building needed very careful planning. It was also important to involve local performing groups, schools and cultural institutions more integrally in the workshops. Engaging with local performance traditions will also benefit the participating dance groups and individuals.

Contemporary dance repertoires will be surveyed on an ongoing basis, assisted by an advisory panel. A core group will be identified for subsequent rounds. The task of selection will actually be taken over by a trust that will be established after the second run. Strategies to broaden the appeal of contemporary dance will be evolved through discussion with the participating artists. Organisations and individuals will be networked, giving special attention to building mutually enriching partnerships in order to strengthen management and resource mobilisation for both the circuit and its hosting authorities. Attempts will be made to rope in schools and colleges in the activities of the circuit. Resource mobilisation is perhaps the foremost objective of the second run. Efforts will be made to identify donors and build a corpus fund for Chaali, besides generating funds locally. The target is to attract funding for the next two or three rounds of Chaali. Bharat feels that it is important to initiate dialogue with the corporate sector and development agencies. IFA’s Institutional Development Unit will assist Bharat develop strategies and presentations for attracting support from corporations and other funding organisations to sustain Chaali.

The second run will be documented professionally to generate visual material and literature. A consultant will accompany Chaali on tour as a participant-observer to help analyse issues related to the run and provide feedback for development. Closer attention will also be paid to logistical aspects of the circuit, like electricity connections, dancing surfaces and green rooms, to ensure the quality of performance as well as prevent injuries to dancers. A tour manager will be engaged to reduce Bharat’s burden.

IFA’s genuine concerns about certain aspects of the circuit were also communicated to Bharat.