Preethi Athreya

New Performance

Grant Period: Over three months

With this grant, Chennai-based dancer, Preethi Athreya, will create a new performance piece interweaving dance, music, mime, video and voice, in an attempt to discover the body through different perspectives. The performance will be based on a composition for the piano by French composer, Gerard Pesson. Pesson wrote the piece for his friend and composer, Dominique Troncin, shortly before the latter’s death in 1994. The music for the piece was inspired by the work Pierre Albert Jourdan, whose one-line poem, ‘La lumiere n’a pas de bras pour nous porter’ (Light Does Not Have Arms to Carry Us), forms the title of the musical composition.

Preethi explains that Pesson’s composition is a very rare piece of music. Although a composition for the piano, it is played very rhythmically using the fingernails to scrape the keys, producing a percussive effect. Inspired by this, Preethi had earlier collaborated on a project with a pianist and a foley artist. On her solo project, retaining the musical composition she will now study bodily identity, not just physiologically, but also through memory, experience, habit and training. The music will initially be absent in the performance as Preethi attempts to express the music through movement. The viewer will access the music little by little at various stages in the performance. The entire composition will be played only at the end. Through this, Preethi hopes to get the audience to reflect on sensorial experiences.  Preethi envisions the performance somewhat like a silent movie, but with occasional musical effect. She believes that this will enable the audience expand their imagination to absorb a rich collection of visual detail without worrying about what it means. Therefore this solo work is an attempt to capture the poetry of silence.

In doing this, Preethi’s exploration will extend into the idea of translation.  She will create narratives with movement, text and mime based on the structure and composition of the music. In other words, she will arrive at a visual rhythm based on an aural experience. This is an idea that is based on Delueze’s theory of haptic vision, where the boundaries between the body and the space become fluid and the inside and the outside becomes permeable to each other.

The performance is set to premier in Chennai at the end of March 2013.