Dancing the Looru

Three Bangalore dancers explore the city’s centre.

One Saturday morning, at 6:00 AM, three dancers assembled near Bangalore’s artery, M.G.Road.
They did not know why exactly they were there or what they would do. But they knew they wanted to move around this familiar place, slow down with it, spend time with it in a strange hour.

Gathering. Church Street. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

They began their day as dancers do—stretching their bodies with lamp posts, No Parking poles, and each other.

Warming up. Church Street. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

As they meandered the still-yawning heart of the city, their morning walk turned into a dance.

Overture. Opera House. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Act One. On sale. Brigade Road. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Sylvester inverted. Brigade Road. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

It was a slow dance—meditations at places they had passed too many times. In front of Cauvery, shuttered with its sandalwood air, passersby asked if this was a performance.

Sylvester quietening himself. Cauvery. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Ronita being watched. Cauvery. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

It was hard to say. It might have been discovery. A sea route replaced by urban terrain. It could have been tribute. Or simply a pause to take stock of place—quickening pulse, shifting pictures.

Ronita listening for transported sounds. Metro Station. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

This old place, now jazzed up and made over, still seemed to be reinventing itself. Does a landmark remain a landmark if it no longer looks the same?

Under renovation. Higginbothams. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Thoughts and movements digressed into bylanes. The dance collided with borrowed walls, stained with another artist’s meanings.

Anindita breaking the monotony. Off Brigade Road. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Ronita finds herself. Off Brigade Road. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Call it a history lesson. Of favourite hangouts and morning rituals. Of archeology and maps—joggers’ trails imprinted into shared ground. For the dancers, the trails led to bamboo groves. Those leaf-strewn clearings became ballet floors. It was hard to tell time by shadows here.

Sylvester has a moment of inspiration. Koshy’s, Church Street. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Dancing to Jonny Cash playing on a cellphone. Cubbon Park. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

Beyond the brief wilderness, the neighbourhood was all shiny.

Taking a break. Church Street. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

And tall. An entire world now stacked up in needly, glass buildings that reached above their heads. Just some years ago, the sky had looked different.

Sites under construction. Near UB City. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu
Changing location. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu

As they made their way home, the dancers broke into a little jig. A punctuation for a moment, when every street corner and edifice could make no promises about how long it would stay.

Coda. High Court. PHOTO: Vivek Prabhu
Anindita Ghosh has a unique dance style that blends the distilled vocabularies of classical Indian dance forms, such as Kathak, with the freedom of contemporary dance. A member of Attakkalari’s repertory company, she is a part of their latest production, Bhinna Vinyasa.

Sylvester Mardi, born and raised in Kolkata, came to Bangalore after obtaining his B.Com from St. Xavier's College in 2009. Since completing the diploma course in Movement Arts and Mixed Media at Attakkalari, he has become a senior member of the repertory company.

Ronita Mookerji graduated with a diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed Media from Attakkalari in 2009, before which she underwent more than 14 years’ Bharatanatyam training in Kolkata.
She is a participant in Attakkalari’s Associate Artist Scheme for independent dance artists and is also a facilitator in their education outreach programme.

Vivek Prabhu is a photographer based out of Bangalore. He has a keen interest in travel, architecture, and performing arts. You can find more of his work at www.vekspace.com

Photos by Vivek Prabhu • Text by Poorna Swami

TABLE of Contents
Bangalore. Hyperextended.

Do Contemporary Dance Makers Have A Deadline, Too?
Joshua Muyiwa
From somewhere in the middle
Atalya Baumer/Tamar Mayzlish + Diya Naidu + Hemabharathy Palani
Madhu Nataraj
Dancing the Looru
Vivek Prabhu/Anindita Ghosh/Sylvester Mardi/Ronita Mookerji
Welcome to Dance
Poorna Swami


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