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Curtain Call:
After the Biennial

During the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017, within the Writing on Dance Laboratory, we had several conversations about dance—its making, its reception, its impact, its sensations, its politics. Watching every performance at the festival, and attending conferences, screenings, and other festival events, the Lab participants received a broad view of festival happenings. That holistic perspective and those many conversations are reflected in Ligament’s final issue on the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017. Through the each of the participants’ different experiences of different events, we are left with pertinent questions about dance that might be worth considering after the festival has ended, through all the dance we watch in days to come. Why do we watch dance? Why should we write on dance? Are there many ways to write? And when dance makes us feel something, anything, what questions do we ask of it?

— Poorna Swami, Editor

To Hunt Or Be Hunted: (W)Rite into a Legacy
Dayita Nereyeth

Dancer and writer Dayita Nereyeth broadly traces the choreographic legacy of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and her relationship with it

The Visibility of Edges
Ian Abbott

Dance writer and producer Ian Abbott considers the edges of touch, authenticity, and repetition in two performances

All The Pillars That Hold Up The Ceiling Resonate A Different Sound
Parvathi Ramanathan

Dance and writer Parvathi Ramanathan looks at the individual and the ensemble in contemporary dance practice

Front Row At The Bench India Conference

Swar Thounaojam

Playwright, theatre director, and performer Swar Thounaojam looks at the optics around women choreographers in contemporary dance through Centre Stage performances and a conference at the Biennial 2017

Rhythm in the Body, Rhythm of the Mind
Himalaya Gohel

Dance researcher and PhD student Himalaya Gohel examines two works to investigate our notions of melody, music, and movement in contemporary dance

ShowReel : While We Strive
Darshan Manakkal

Dancers Revé Terborg, Audrey Apers and Ivan Ugrin from The Netherlands presented While We Strive, choreographed by Arno Schuitemaker, on Day 8 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : This Is The Title
Darshan Manakkal

Finnish choreographer-performer Ima Iduozee presented This is the Title on Day 8 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Westward Ho!
Darshan Manakkal

Finland’s Tero Saarinen Company presented Westward Ho!, choreographed by Tero Saarinen, on Day 8 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Man in a Room
Darshan Manakkal

Finland’s Tero Saarinen presented Man In A Room on Day 8 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Conditions Of Carriage
Darshan Manakkal

Chennai-based choreographer Preethi Athreya and the Jumpers presented Conditions Of Carriage on the closing day of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Isshh(क)
Darshan Manakkal

Bangalore’s Attakkalari Repertory Company presented Isshh(क), choreographed by Swiss choreographer Nicole Seiler, on the closing day of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

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The Biennial Issue: Part 2

As the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017 comes to a close, participants in the Writing on Dance Laboratory show us the festival in their words and images.

Zawirowania Dance Theatre’s Closeness
Swar Thounaojam

Playwright, theatre director, and performer Swar Thounaojam finds the Polish dance company’s trio work just bold and beautiful

The Time, The Times: A Dual Perspective
Dayita Nereyeth and Ian Abbott

Dayita Nereyeth and Ian Abbott take a collaborative stab at Time Takes The Times Time Takes choreographed by Guy Nader | Maria Campos to offer a fuller perspective on the work

Vacant Chairs Weigh Heavy With The Memories Of Everyone Who Has Sat On Them
Parvathi Ramanathan

Dancer and writer Parvathi Ramanathan reads through Fabien Prioville’s La Suite

Show Us Some Moves: Small and Silly Dances
Dayita Nereyeth

Dancer and writer Dayita Nereyeth gets the festival team dancing

do you believe what you hear? do you hear what you believe?
Ian Abbott

Dance writer and producer Ian Abbott chronicles the origin and execution of an interview with ‘silence designer’ Marcel Zaes

Review: Ronita Mookerji's Who?
Dayita Nereyeth

Dancer and writer Dayita Nereyeth reflects on this Bangalore choreographer and dancer’s latest work-in-progress solo

What Do We See And Feel While Watching Dance?
Himalaya Gohel

Dance researcher and PhD student Himalaya Gohel examines two works at the Biennial to talk of the audience’s role in the reception of each of them

When Does A Dance Piece End?
Sheetala Bhat

Actor and writer Sheetala Bhat analyses the relationship between performer, audience, and time through Mandeep Raikhy’s Queen-size

ShowReel : Bhinna Vinyasa
Darshan Manakkal

Bangalore’s Attakkalari Repertory Company presented Bhinna Vinyasa, choreographed by Jayachandran Palazhy, on Day 4 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Time Takes The Time Time Takes
Darshan Manakkal

Spanish choreographers MC Guy Nader and Maria Campos presented Time Takes The Time Time Takes on Day 5 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Liquido
Darshan Manakkal

Italian choreographer-dancer Luisa Cortesi and music artist Gianluca Petrella presented Liquido on Day 6 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Closeness
Darshan Manakkal

Poland’s Zawirowania Dance Theatre presented Closeness, choreographed by Tomas Nepsinsky, on Day 6 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : La Suite
Darshan Manakkal

German choreographer Fabien Prioville presented La Suite on Day 7 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

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The Biennial Issue: Part 1

In this first part of the Biennial Issue, participants in the Writing on Dance Laboratory at the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017 respond to performances they saw and discussions they had during the first few days of the festival.

ShowReel : R U Ready?
Darshan Manakkal

South Korea’s Second Nature Dance Company presented R U Ready?, choreographed by Kim Sunghan, at the Opening Night of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : 5 Colours
Darshan Manakkal

Gamblerz & Animation, two dance companies from South Korea, presented 5 Colours at the opening night of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Ketima
Darshan Manakkal

Vuyani Dance Theatre from South Africa presented Ketima, choreographed by Gregory Maqoma, on Day 2 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

ShowReel : Tordre (Wrought)
Darshan Manakkal

Rachid Ouramdane, choreographer and co-director of CCN2 – Centre choréographique national de Grenoble – presented Tordre (Wrought) on Day 3 of the Attakkalari India Biennial 2017

FACETS Probably Needs An Additional Mentor
Swar Thounaojam

Playwright, theatre director, and performer Swar Thounaojam questions the political insularity of three works from the choreography residency.

Where Does Movement Come From?
Dayita Nereyeth

Dancer and writer Dayita Nereyeth searches for the source of contemporary dance movement through her own practice and Tahnun Ahmedy’s solo work at the Biennial

Dancing Now (after Anita Cherian)
Ian Abbott

Dance writer and producer Ian Abbott re-authors Anita Cherian’s introduction to tiltpauseshift: Dance Ecologies In India

Show Us Some Moves: Small and Silly Dances
Dayita Nereyeth

Dancer and writer Dayita Nereyeth gets the Bangalore audience to move.

Annie & Lora (after Rachid Ouramdane)
Ian Abbott

An illustrative response to Tordre (Wrought) by CCN2 Grenoble, France.

Why Dance When You Can Speak, Why Think When You Can Sweep
Himalaya Gohel

Dance researcher and PhD Student Himalaya Gohel reviews a work from the FACETS Choreography Residency

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American choreographer Remy Charlip, when he could not choreograph on a dancer in person, invented his seminal “Air Mail Dances”. He sent dancers postcards with drawings of different poses, but how those poses connected and coalesced into a dance was left to the dancers’ physical replies.

Such connections between dance and the epistolary are not hard to find. There are the back-and-forth musical sequences between Bollywood lovers, the forever complicated triangle between Radha, Krishna, and the sakhi of classical dance. And there are also real correspondences that give us insight into particular choreographies, processes, and historical developments. European travellers writing home about Nautch girls. Merce Cunnigham and John Cage on creating by chance. Or letters to the editors of newspapers arguing for and against the dances of devadasis.

Ligament’s first 2017 issue looks at the epistolary impulses— exchanges of secrets, loves, epiphanies, and feuds—in different dances. The issue also reframes letter, postcard, and email writing as a potentially more intimate and immediate way to write about and respond to dance.

In a string of correspondence between Karthika Nair and Tishani Doshi published in Granta (130: April 2015), Nair writes that dance is like “calligraphy on water, the cat’s paw ripple that vanishes even as it is created, but one that marks the landscape in that act of evanescence”. The epistolary shares this transience. Although preservable in the receiver’s archive, a letter, once it is written and sent (maybe even to get lost along the way), ceases to be for the one who wrote it.

Return to Sender
The Indian Posts and Telegraph Department

Indian dance through postage stamps

Dear Bangalore,
Fabien Prioville

Fabien Prioville’s recent site-specific work with Attakkalari diploma students

Joshua Sailo

Choreographer Joshua Sailo sends movement from a historic site.

Friends with Benefits
Ranjana Dave

Dancer Ranjana Dave ponders Classical love in the Digital Age

It’s in Your Hands
Sujay Saple

FACETS resident Sujay Saple writes a postcard to himself as part of “From somewhere in the middle”

Four Postcards to a Dancer from a Theatre Maker
Deepika Arwind

Theatre maker Deepika Arwind writes to her dancer collaborators as part of “From somewhere in the middle”

Update 1: 2017
Poorna Swami

A letter from dancer Poorna Swami’s correspondence

Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Samar Grewal/Parth Bhardwaj and Marcel Zaes/Shabari Rao

Two composers and two dancers write letters in sound and movement

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‘Archive’ comes from the Greek ‘arche’, which is the ‘beginning’ or ‘origin’. We often think of archives as public records, rooms filled with stuff that is dusty and deteriorating. But if we think of archive as its etymology, we are offered a wider definition—a beginning could be anywhere.

Ligament’s December 2016 issue sifts through multiple archives, multiple beginnings for different dancers and dances—in the body, in the museum, in the home, in memory. And by unravelling these far flung repositories, the issues asks whether dance can ever have a singular archive, if it always has multiple beginnings.

Archived Within Me
Tishani Doshi

Writer and dancer Tishani Doshi speaks about her body as an archive with Sammitha Sreevathsa

He Fell Through History: Discovering Ram Gopal in Archives
Ajay J. Sinha / Ayisha Abraham

An artist and an art historian chance upon a forgotten dancer

We Are Like That Only
Naomi Kundu

Naomi Kundu

Documenting Dance in India
Alice Boner

A Glimpse of Alice Boner’s Archive

An Archive of Racial Fantasy
Rachel Mattson

Historian Rachel Mattson makes archive of Ragini Devi’s white American body

A Vow to Document
Avantika Bahl

Mumbai-based dancer Avantika Bahl reflects on her documenting process as part of “From somewhere in the middle”

Archiving Dance: Memory, Body, and Affect
Asim Siddiqui

Scholar Asim Siddiqui questions current approaches to archiving live dance

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Dissent and Content

In October of this year, during its annual IGNITE! dance festival, Gati Dance Forum launched the much-awaited Tilt. Pause. Shift: Dance Ecologies in India. The book’s various essays consider how we in India might generate a localised, yet internationally-aware, vocabulary to discuss, describe, and push back against the various modes of contemporary dance practice in this country. The first of its kind, the book took three years to complete and anchored IGNITE!’s three-day conference themed Form. Identity. Dissent. The conference, with panels that ranged from “Activism and Sexuality in Performance” to “Pedagogical Modes of Transmission Emerging from Classical Dance”, raised many questions that run through the book: What is contemporary dance? How does it, or should it, speak to a classical or colonial past? How can it negotiate its present? What aesthetic form must that present take?

These questions, along with various performance works (such as Sujata Goel’s Dancing Girl, Daniel Kok’s Cheerleader of Europe, and Preethi Athreya’s Conditions Of Carriage - The Jumping Project) that formed IGNITE! 2016’s lineup have helped shape Ligament’s November 2016 issue.

Through interview, essay, poetry, and photography collected from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this issue attempts to unravel the aesthetics and politics that surround South Asian contemporary dance and its makers.

Deconstructing Intimacy: In conversation with Mandeep Raikhy
Mandeep Raikhy

Choreographer Mandeep Raikhy speaks with Ranjana Dave about his latest work, Queen-size.

It’s Not My Revolution If I Can’t Dance To It
Richa Bhavanam/ Naomi Kundu

Photo Essay

A Different Genre of Politics
Surjit Nongmeikapam

Surjit Nongmeikapam talks about his current projects, as a part of "From somewhere in the middle"

Nationalism and Dance: In conversation with Sadanand Menon
Sadanand Menon

Sadanand Menon, art critic and photographer, speaks with Ligament’s Editor, Poorna Swami, on the history of dance in India and the history of India itself.

Jasmine and Pepper
Karthika Nair

A Poem By Karthika Nair

Let us change the world! : Slogan-raising bodies in the JNU student protest
Meghna Bhardwaj

Meghna Bhardwaj, dancer and PhD scholar at JNU, reflects on ‘spirals’ and Euphoria in the JNU protest.

A Love Letter to Karachi: Joshinder Chaggar’s Contemporary Dance Drama
Zoha Husain

Zoha Husain responds to Joshinder Chaggar’s recent Karachi performance

Methods of Defiance
Venrui Perera

Choreographer Venuri Perera discusses dissent, dance, and community with Asim Siddiqui, as a part of "From somewhere in the middle"

Writing On Dance Laboratory - Open Call

03-12 February, 2017 : 10 AM to 4 PM
(this does not include evening performances)

TABLE of Contents
Bangalore. Hyperextended.

Since Ligament’s last run two years ago, Bangalore has changed, as cities do, geographically, economically, and culturally. This first issue of Ligament 2016-17 celebrates the city in which the magazine was created. Conspicuously placed between the politics of a cosmopolitan, hyperextended megacity and the more intimate experiences of creating and moving within that city, the issue investigates Bangalore’s dance makers’ artistic concerns, how they relate to their city, and the creative possibilities they find here.

Do Contemporary Dance Makers Have A Deadline, Too?
Joshua Muyiwa

Two years after Ligament was last published, former Editor Joshua Muyiwa considers the magazine’s past endeavours and how they speak to Bangalore’s changing contemporary dance landscape.

From somewhere in the middle
Atalya Baumer/Tamar Mayzlish + Diya Naidu + Hemabharathy Palani

“From somewhere in the middle” is Ligament’s new section of dance makers reflecting on works in the making. In this edition, long-time Bangalore-based artists Diya Naidu and Hemabharathy Palani, along with visitors Atalya Baumer and Tamar Mayzlish, talk about their still-forming works, which are as diverse as feminist activism and an exercise in communication.

Madhu Nataraj

Madhu Nataraj, dancer, choreographer, and founder of Natya STEM Dance Kampni, shares, via email, her experiences of working as a contemporary dance artist in Bangalore over the last two decades.

Dancing the Looru
Vivek Prabhu/Anindita Ghosh/Sylvester Mardi/Ronita Mookerji

Three Bangalore dancers (Anindita Ghosh, Sylvester Mardi & Ronita Mookerji) explore the city’s centre. With Vivek Prabhu

Welcome to Dance
Poorna Swami

Poorna Swami, Ligament’s Editor, writes on encountering contemporary dance in two cities.


To pick up and run with a magazine that has had another life is never easy. There are those conflicting desires to find close continuity and to just scrap it all and start anew. Ligament 2016-17 reemerges from a half-way point. We want to build on the investigations and insights of the magazine’s past contributors and also find ways to say what they perhaps had wanted to say but could not, or forgot to, in that moment.

Ligament was founded to facilitate the articulation of an evolving language that encompasses the impulses of contemporary dance. The idea of “contemporary” is inherently bound to time, to a sense of history, rather multiple histories unfolding. In its 2016-17 iteration, we hope that Ligament can grapple with the idea of how dance might hold a place in-step with the patterns of active and forming histories, rather than remaining a canonised and pondered response to a bygone world. We’d like to embrace the immediacy of “contemporary”, and invite contributions from dancers, choreographers, arts practitioners, scholars, audience members, readers. In this way, we hope to reach for the intimacies, resistances, and fragilities that permeate the developing field of South Asian contemporary dance.

Articulating a medium as visceral, visual, and ephemeral as dance requires making connections to methods of thought and critique that lie outside evaluative language. So for Ligament 2016-17 we welcome, of course, the critical essay, but also audio, photographs, ekphrastic poems, interviews, and hybrid media of various kinds that might speak to us about dance, carefully and proximately. Like the anatomical connective tissue for which it is named, Ligament, we hope, can help us locate dance in tandem with the many bodies that produce and encapsulate it.

To those who find themselves here for the first time, welcome. And those whom we have met before, we are glad you are back.

—Poorna Swami, Editor

Get in touch with us at ligament@attakkalari.org