Nakula Somana

Arts Collaboration

Grant Period: Over six months

Nakula Somana a dancer with an eclectic training in Bharatnatyam, contemporary dance, Kalaripayattu and aerial trapeze, is working with Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, as a community facilitator. He runs a dance development programme that organises training for young dancers.

As a teacher, Somana has facilitated dance awareness and education programmes for trained dancers as well as a non-trained but interested audience. The need to explore dance that does not require rigorous formal training made him interested in cinematic dance. Cinematic dance, he observes, is fast, frontal, involves rapid changes from one movement to another, and has frequent repetitions and clear strong lines. It incorporates a lot of acrobatic floor work and facial expression derived from the film sequence.

Somana met his collaborator Satish during a choreography laboratory in Trivandrum in 2000. Satish is a member of The Footloosers – a dance company in Kerala which specialises in popular western dance forms and Indian cinematic dance. Somana and Satish worked together to choreograph and perform a site-specific piece during the choreography laboratory. For Mr Satish, who is now a scholarship student at Attakkalari, cinematic dance needs to explore new movement material to keep evolving as a popular form.

The collaborators will emphasise points of departure and intersection in the movement vocabularies of contemporary and cinematic dance. The workshop sessions between the collaborators, where they will respond to each other’s idiom and movement language, will be documented by another dancer/choreographer, Tripura Kashyap. Ms Kashyap will both document and comment as an observer.

With the objective to go beyond performance, the collaborators have included three workshop sessions with a group of dancers from The Footloosers during the preparatory phase. Since “dance is finished the moment it is done”, documenting the process of arriving at a set of movements is important: they can share it with other interested dancers and get their inputs. The documentation, both video and written, Satish and Somana feel, will also be a tool to review and further their own collaborative process.

The collaboration hopes to challenge each other in ways that would creatively extend their own practices in the future, and get more dancers interested in the process of working with dance idioms other than their own.