Choreographed to connect

The Attakkalari India Biennial 2015 will feature more than 200 dancers

Hemabharathy Palani will present ‘Twine’ on Sunday
Hemabharathy Palani will present ‘Twine’ on Sunday

In her performance Twine, Bengaluru-based dancer Hemabharathy Palani’s two souls, in the form of her shadows, tie, pull, shift, hold together and, at other times, fall apart from each other, and from her body. For Palani, it is an expression of different ideas of solitude and the elasticity with which people become extensions of each other.

“As the momentum of living never slows down, one often misses the smaller things, like contemplating shadows, or telling secrets, or observing the different personalities one has at different times,” says Palani, who is trained in Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, yoga and capoeira (a Brazilian martial art).

On 8 February, Palani will perform Twine with two other dancers as part of the seventh edition of the Attakkalari India Biennial, a contemporary dance and movement arts festival organized by the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts in Bengaluru. Sticking to the theme of this year’s edition—“Dance Connect”— Palani has fused contemporary dance with Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam.

More than 200 contemporary dancers from Korea, Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, Australia and Belgium, besides India, will perform at the festival, which will be held at three venues—Ranga Shankara, the Chowdiah Memorial Hall and Alliance Française. “The idea is to bring movement art out in the open for people to experience it, learn from it and enjoy it,” says Attakkalari’s founder and artistic director Jayachandran Palazhy, who set up Attakkalari in 1992, and launched the biennial in 2000.

The festival will also feature digital performances, workshops for the audience, a residency on writing on dance, masterclasses, seminars and “meet the artiste” sessions.

Ten choreographers from Australia, India, Korea, Sri Lanka and the UK will present their new works as part of FACETS, a choreography residency that aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas, perspectives, experiences and feedback from selected mentors during the festival. “That is what dance connect is all about, to learn and to teach and create something totally new and contemporary,” says Martin Lutz, one of the
mentors of FACETS.

Lutz, who lives in Berlin, Germany, has been working with Attakkalari for two years and has produced various soundscapes. “But making sound pieces for Indian dances is quite difficult as everything is so detailed, intricate and multilayered,” says Lutz, who will be giving the soundscape for classical jazz and Kathak dancer Prasanna Saikia’s performance.

The festival will also feature “Platform 15: Emerging South Asia”, a forum in which choreographers and movement artistes from South Asia will present their works. “It will also enable these artistes to connect with other dancers, technicians, academics and curators,” says Palazhy.

The Attakkalari India Biennial 2015 will be held from 6-15 February. Venues and timings vary. Tickets, Rs.100, Rs.200, Rs.300 and Rs.500, available on For the full schedule, visit

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