The Gati Forum

New Performance

Grant Period: Over two months

This grant will offer partial support for the nine-week Gati Summer Dance Residency (GSDR) that will be held between April and June 2012 in Delhi. Anusha Lall, director of the Gati Forum, believes that the dearth of truly qualitative and imaginative engagements in dance is hardly surprising given India’s failure in addressing one of the most integral components of dance education, choreography. It is to address this gap that the Gati Forum has been running GSDR for the last three years. GSDR is one of only two important platforms in the country that supports dance artists to discover their choreographic selves and hone their skills. The major areas the residency will ofcus on are sustained mentoring, events and workshops, infrastructural and financial support and performance opportunities. Theatre director Sankar Venkateswaran, contemporary dancers Susanne Linke and Urs Dietrich and sound artist Pol will form the core mentoring team. Art critic, Sadanand Menon, and dancer, Isha Sherawat, will serve as guest mentors. The residents will spend three weeks with each mentor except Urs Dietrich, who will oversee them through the entire duration of the residency, acting as a connecting link.

The nine-week residency will comprise of multiple events. It will begin with an intensive week of workshops, presentations and discussions, which will introduce the residents to different ways of creating work. This will be followed by rehearsals where the residents will embark on their creative processes. Peer-sharing and discussions will be integral to the residency. The ‘residency experience’, in response to feedback from previous years, will be modified to offer the participants a common residential space rather than a more scattered one. The previous residencies made clear that there was a scarcity of experienced mentors in the area of contemporary choreography. To fill this vacuum, GSDR 2012 will be preceded by a two-day workshop on pedagogy and mentoring. This working group will include mentors from GSDR 2012 as well as other teachers and dance practitioners—Navtej Johar, Padmini Chettur, Maya Krishna Rao, Justin McCarthy and Rekha Tandon. The meeting will help build a pool of mentors to create a databank on skills and methodologies that will contribute to effective mentoring within the specific context of pedagogy and creation in Indian dance.

GSDR 2012 will also see a researcher from JNU document the artists’ journey and process of work. Besides creating a vocabulary to express the specific ideas, methodologies and concerns that emerge from the work of the residents, the research is also expected to aid the devising of a framework for thinking about contemporary choreography in the Indian context.