The Attakalari Centre for Movement Arts, located in Bengaluru, is firmly entrenched in the field of contemporary movement arts, locally and globally. Apart from working on new performances for the professional dancers in its artistic repertory, Attakalari conducts dance workshops to make the art form accessible to anybody who wants to learn and make dance a career option for young people.
Here is a first person account of a summer workshop by The Good City's youngest crew member, 15-year-old Taanika Shankar.
I began 2017 with a resolution. I was going to spend this year doing things that scare me. When I got down to thinking about it, I found that there was one thing I was really afraid of. A few years ago, I had attempted to learn dance at Attakalari. But I quit soon enough because I wasn't comfortable. I didn't think I could keep up, and also, I was shy.
"That's a fear I am going to conquer," I thought. So when summer came along, I signed up for an intensive 10-day summer course at Attakalari.
Attakalari is a school that promotes learning contemporary dance and 'movement arts'. They have certificate programs, and diplomas, but the 10-day camp gives people the chance to be immersed into this world of creative expression through movement for a short period of time. At the end of the 10 days, we get to put up a show, which is awesome.
The three-hour classes typically start with a warm-up and stretches. We get to learn basic contemporary movements and sequences, which are quite tough to pick up immediately. But it's not all work and no play at Attakalari. To keep the energy up, there are plenty of games that our teachers make us play. For example, we learn how to imitate animal movements, which is pretty cool. Sometimes, our teachers mix it up and teach us fun stuff. In the last class, for instance, Prashant, one of our two instructors, taught us a routine he had based on Tappanguchi, which is a Tamil street dance. It was very confusing but hilarious, at the same time.
As the course draws to an end, I realise that the best part about it, apart from the new friends that I made, was that I learnt that a lot about the evolution of dance. And while I don't know if I want to train to be a dancer, I know enough to say that "Contemporary dance is a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several different dance genres."
Years from now, I'll always remember the summer of 2017, for this is when I found out what it takes to be a dancer.
(On May 20, Taanika and her fellow students at the summer dance workshop performed at the Guru Nanak Bhavan, Bengaluru.)