Kathak veteran Maya Rao calls it “a home for dance".

Earlier this month, The Gati Dance Forum, a Delhi-based independent non-profit organization that works in the field of contemporary dance in India, finally found itself a permanent spot.

For the last five years, Gati—which is both conceived of and run by dance professionals—has been operating out of a residential basement in Nizamuddin East, a swish New Delhi neighbourhood, organizing workshops, residencies and its biannual dance festival IGNITE! (1-4 November this year) from the cramped quarters.

Contemporary dancer Rakesh M.P.S. at the soon-to-be café space in the community centre. Rakesh is part of the ongoing Gati Summer Dance Residency programme for 2012. Photo: Soumit and Soumita

The community centre will offer facilities for rehearsals, research, and small, informal performances to dancers in Delhi and surrounding areas at subsidized rates. While the dance studios are already open for dancers (at 200 per hour), the library and café are getting finishing touches.

The Gati Dance Forum was founded in 2007 by dancer Anusha Lall in response to the needs of the professional dance community, with a goal to develop greater opportunities and infrastructure for contemporary dance.

“(This) is the culmination of a long-standing vision since we felt an urgent need to fill the vacuum in infrastructural support for contemporary dancers. The centre is committed to supporting dance practitioners irrespective of their dance and movement background," says Lall.

Through its Facebook page and website, Gati is working on mobilizing additional support in the form of financial contributions as well as books and visual material on dance for its archives. “While we have institutional funding for our other programmes from the Norwegian embassy, the British Council and Max Mueller Bhavan, we were keen to fund this community centre entirely from individual donations," adds Alluri. As a gesture to the community, the Gati team plans to acknowledge its patrons on a “Wall of Support" at the heart of its new space—the caféteria.

The Gati Dance Forum’s community centre is located at 5, Windmill Place, S-17, Khirkee Extension, New Delhi. For details, visit www.gatidance.com

anindita.g@livemint.com

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