Karthika Naïr is the author of several books, including the award-winning Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, a re-imagining of the Mahabharata in multiple voices, and The Honey Hunter, a children's story illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet, published in English, French, German, and Bangla. She was also the principal scriptwriter of choreographer Akram Khan's DESH (2011), Chotto Desh (2015) and, more recently, Until the Lions, a partial adaptation of her book.
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.
Choreographer Mandeep Raikhy speaks with Ranjana Dave about his latest work, Queen-size.
Surjit Nongmeikapam talks about his current projects, as a part of "From somewhere in the middle"
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.
A Poem By Karthika Nair
Meghna Bhardwaj, dancer and PhD scholar at JNU, reflects on ‘spirals’ and Euphoria in the JNU protest.
Zoha Husain responds to Joshinder Chaggar’s recent Karachi performance
Choreographer Venuri Perera discusses dissent, dance, and community with Asim Siddiqui, as a part of "From somewhere in the middle"
03-12 February, 2017 : 10 AM to 4 PM
(this does not include evening performances)
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 email@example.com