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Can dance create a lightness of being?

A new dance theatre performance, ‘Moving Stories’, by DanzA Performing Arts, doesn't just promise to heal but also hopes to create a heightened relationship between the mind and body

'Moving Stories' Photos by Deepak Kattar
'Moving Stories' Photos by Deepak Kattar

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At the DanzA Performing Arts in Gurgaon, a unique dance theatre performance, Moving Stories, is all set to take place. Using alphabets of their own unique movement style, the artists will improvise on the spot, thus making no two performances of Moving Stories the same. In a culture-starved Gurgaon, this dance theatre work comes as a breath of fresh air. Featuring 9 artists, from across age groups, the performance draws on their personal memories of landmark moments. “The idea was to put all these personal stories into a creative laboratory until we found varied perspectives to look at life. The work, in the process, became healing and brought a lightness of being,” says Swati Mohan, founder, Danza Performing Arts, which has now completed 15 years of existence.

Her work has always researched the behaviour of the mind and body, and how that engages with the collective human behaviour. The performers were asked to choose a life-changing experience either from the last two years of the pandemic or even from before. It was interesting that while the older ones tapped into pre-pandemic memories, the younger artists, aged 10-15 years, looked at all that transpired within the past two years. “The youngest one chose a pandemic story, but it was a joyous one related to her birthday. I think the young ones are a blank slate and have not been conditioned by life till now. As we grow older, we begin to connect more with the strife in life,” elaborates Mohan.

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The performers were asked to choose a life-changing experience either from the last two years of the pandemic or even from before
The performers were asked to choose a life-changing experience either from the last two years of the pandemic or even from before

At a time when artists, just emerging from a difficult two years, need to be supported, she feels grateful to Mahaveer Kaushik, director, art and cultural affairs department, Haryana, for the support to Moving Stories. This is a performance that will not only move you, but also nudge you to think and tap into your own memories. It hopes to set you on a path to healing yourself. Mohan has made a conscious effort in the past three years to move from the proscenium to small intimate spaces to perform. “The future is about limited edition work in intimate spaces. You have to be close to your audience and let the work breathe. We tried such a format for the first time in 2019 with Hum Honge Kamyab,” she says. “This is our second performance set in an intimate space.”

Moving Stories comes sans any frills; rather it prompts a viewer to find the honesty in the performance. The real-time improvisation keeps both the performer and the viewer alert. “I have always worked towards heightened awareness. The way you will see the performance at 5 pm will not be the same as the 2 pm one, and would definitely be different from the rehearsals,” she adds. This allows the artists to process a lot more as a performer, as a human—the choices they make with their bodies, the way they interact with other bodies and the space. This leads to the performer to keep renewing themselves in the process. “The aim of Danza has always been to find the artist in you, not just a dancer. For that this kind of creative laboratory is important. If art does not make you think, then what is even its point,” she asks.

Also read: Creating a workspace to move and pause

Moving Stories will be held at Beyond Fitness, Gurgaon, on 18 December, 2 pm and 5 pm. For bookings, call 9990510719. It will also be streamed live on DanzA’s social media pages at 5 pm

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