A contemporary dance performance questions our relationship with our bodies
Do we owe our bodies a certain dignity? How much is too much when we obsess about how we look and please others with our appearances? Should we just let our bodies live the moment and relax? Questions such as these and many other thoughts that attempt to reveal the purpose of our bodies will be presented through a choreography piece titled BodyMine by Shabari Rao, an artiste, educator and researcher.
Shabari a trained dancer has been exploring the idea of how our bodies never seem good enough for most of us. Through BodyMine she examines, she says, "The tension between the experience of the 'body as a liability or a constraint' and the 'body as abundance'. In other words, many of us often experience our bodies as something that needs to be fixed, managed or even hidden. It almost feels like the body gets in the way of living the life we want!"
Mining the torso
The contemporary dance piece that it is, BodyMine explores the body as an asset and a resource, a fundamental entity that can be engaged with the world. Talking baout the different movements she has worked on, Shabari explains, "The movement language in BodyMine can loosely be identified as 'contemporary dance'. These are at times restricted and at times expansive and fluid. A lot of the dance movements are improvised and so no two shows will be the same! One of the ideas that motivates the movements is 'mining' the body - that is searching for hidden treasure in the body." The dance performance showcases the dominant narrative of the body, in today's day and age. The narrative that's inclined towards a certain kind of a display dictated by the society. "The way we relate to and experience our bodies in today's world is informed a lot by our use of technology. Being 'insta'ready or filters on your phone camera determine how the world sees you and how you see yourself," says the choreographer.
Need for beauty?
Having been trained under (late) Guru Maya Rao in Kathak and choreography, and with a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies from Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance (UK) and an MA in Dance and Education from the Royal Academy of Dance (UK), Shabari comes with a sound knowledge of various approaches to dance. With the increasing instances of body shaming online and the pressure of looking 'picture perfect' all the time has driven Shabari to ponder over the culture around 'the body'. "There are so many consumer products from health supplements to beauty products that we are told we 'need'! The lines between health and beauty are blurred. Bengaluru is definitely a city where people are very fitness conscious. But is the pursuit of fitness to be able to enjoy one's body or because of social pressure? All of this adds to the sense of the body being a liability -and that is what the performance questions," she offers.
September 15-17, 7 pm. At Shoonya, Lalbagh Road. Tickets (Rs 250) on instamojo.com