[This article was commissioned by PULSE CONNECTS, a journal published by the Kadam London, and dedicated to Asian dance and music. It was published in their October 2018 issue.]
How do you read and respond to dance and movement-based performance? How do you create a discursive space that is informed by a sense of history, personal and collective experience, various lenses of viewing and perceiving work? What are the paradigms, histories, philosophies, politics and contexts within which an artist locates his or her practice? And how do we define a pedagogical space that keeps this practice firmly at the centre of discussion, simultaneously drawing from and connecting to a diversity of experience across time, space and fields?
Co-ideated by writer and educator Aveek Sen and dancer-choreographer and arts researcher Vikram Iyengar, it is important to ensure that Preludes attracts a small but diverse audience. The sessions, therefore, need to be playful and provocative, inventive, intuitive and interrogative – much like how artists create their work. Equally, it is imperative to redefine the usual locus of such discussions that seem to always refer to a heavily Eurocentric understanding of the modern and the contemporary. With this thinking and the project being located in Calcutta, it was but natural that the first module developed around the work of Rabindranath Tagore: Tagore, Dance and Modernism.