It’s been 19 years coming, but Jayachandran Palazhy, the internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer who gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘contemporary dance’, is finally seeing his dream take shape - his signature dance school, Attakalari, will finally have a home to call its own.
Caught in the throes of preparing for the graduation of its 13th batch of students, he can barely contain his excitement at just being granted a piece of land to construct a purpose-built centre that he aims to christen the Centre for Innovation in Performing Arts (CIPA). Some 1.65 acres of land have been freed by the government, in Kempe Gowda Layout, near Kengeri. Dance and theatre will never be the same again!
“We hope this will give us an opportunity to train, research, explore, and develop a prototype, and produce and present great dance, and roll out programmes that will make Attakkalari a Multi-Arts Centre,” says Palazhy, as he holds forth on the prospect that he believes, holds “ immense possibilities.”
The intense dancer, who is as adept at Tai Chi as he is with the mesmeric rendition of the martial art Kalaripayattu that he has turned into a virtual art form, he began his dancing career after attaining his academic spurs with a Bachelor’s Degree. Today, the well travelled dancer who spanned the globe to study different forms of dance is well-versed in a number of styles, from Bharatanatyam to Kathakali and classical ballet, to Indian folk dance.
And it is this that the lithe dancer-choreographer who has taught his hard won craft to hundreds from across the world, will bring to the stage when a two day dance spectacle unfolds on August 9 and 10, at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The event will showcase different dance movements performed by over 60 dancers from across the world.
“Five eminent dancers have choreographed different pieces, which we will see over the course of two days,” says Palazhy. “ There’s Minal Prabhu, for instance, who is choreographing the Bharatanatyam pieces, and Sirag, a Kalarippayattu artist with a lineage drawn from many eminent teachers, who will choreograph an acrobatic piece, filled with the high leaps and advanced movements that make up the complex martial arts form.”
The highlight may however be this most exciting and innovative piece, called a ‘movimento triptiquo.’ “Loosely translated, it means ‘movement triptique’. It’s three parts of one performance that focuses on visual arts choregraphed by Ion Garnika from Spain. One of the pieces is about the story of newborn birds and how they find their community irrespective of the circumstances. Another, about how people exert power over others and how these power relations turn out.”
The dance culture in India, especially contemporary has evolved over the past few years. It is only now that people are more open to the concept of movement arts, says Palazhy, adding “India has a lot of culture, we just need to use it. Even our Gods used to dance, so why not us? Each of these dance forms have another meaning to it, they have their own sole purpose.”
It’s an exciting time, especially for the students. Henna Rai Singhani, Sandeep Singh and Sakshi Jain say, “We are really excited about the student project performance. It’s basically the pieces we have choreographed. Our stories, our movements, our effort, it’s very personal to each one of us. We have stayed here for almost 12 hours a day for the last one or two years and this is our time to show what we have learned. Each of us have chosen dance as a career, completely opposite to what our parents had expected, and this is when we get to show them that it was all worth it.”
Palazhy says that the only theme for this year’s graduation is to celebrate the outgoing students, their talent and their first steps into the world of dance. Talking about their future, he says, “There are so many different places each of them are going to. Some are going abroad for further studies in dance, some might end up in Bollywood or any other cinema industry, some of them are staying back with us as teachers and choreographers. There’s a wide variety of options available for them today.”
You know what they say...the world’s a stage...
What :Graduation show of the 13th Batch of Attakkalari's Diploma students
When: Aug. 9 and 10, 6 pm
Where: Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleswaram