Monday, November 18, 2013

I've been busy lately...

I'm so excited to share with you all what I've been upto for the last few weeks...My friends and now my few blogger friends have come to know the passion I have for dancing. I have always wanted to take my passion a few steps ahead and do something more...Apart from training professionally in Jazz and Modern, for a very brief period of 4 months I taught few kids Hip-Hop, Jazz and freestyle....well another post another day I might tell you what happened to that...

So, I am pursuing an online course at Coursera. We are into the 4th week now and this course has let me explore and open up to the world in an entirely new way. It's like I have a new pair of eyes!

Creating Site-Specific Dance and Performance Works is a free online class taught by Stephan Koplowitz of California Institute of the Arts

Creating Site-Specific Dance and Performance Works means what it actually suggests....Creating a piece of choreography NOT inside the four walls of a class or on a stage but to go out, explore the world, let the architecture, history, community, social relevance of a 'site' inspire you to create a site-specific work. 

I have always believed that Dance is Universal language and I have wanted for long to use it as a tool to spread awareness about important social factors inflicting our society and in my own way create a better world by spreading joy and happiness through 'movement'. 

I didn't know how and where to start. I've had plenty of ideas and my diary has seen several 'plans' and outlines of opening a Dance NGO etc etc but the implementation never happened. What stopped me? Too much thinking, to much detailing and then a point somewhere which made me go " I'm not ready yet". Lack of confidence, inexperience, not enough expertise pulled me backwards. And then I stumbled upon this course and I said "Why not!!"

The past 4 weeks had made me go out of my comfort zone, out my home, with a camera and note-pad in hand to lands where I would not have thought I'd go and do a twirl, a twist or a split!!

The Course structure is such that every week we have a series of online video lectures post which we are asked to do an assignment. This assignment is anonymously evaluated by three peers who are also taking this course. I'm privileged to be in a class where I share the space with Choreographers, Dancers, Actors, Theatre personalities, Art students, Dance educators, Media & digital arts executives etc from well all over the world - Greece, Taiwan, Istanbul, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Spain, India, New York, Boston, Mexico...whoosh...you name it and it's there on the Google maps! So so much talent and so much diversity!

I thought of sharing my assignment 2 here for (a) a general record, (b) to invite feedback from friends and peers (since the assignment evaluation was anonymous we are not able to follow through the entire project of the peers), and (c) as a reminder to keep going...to not only complete the course successfully but to actually this time execute it to finality!

So here goes mu assignment (as it is!)....and fyi the score/evaluation has already been completed for this assignment. 

And a very very special mention to my Mommy, my husband and my friends from my dance school - Shivani, Sheena and Manas...Thank you and love you all!!

Assignment # 2 - Creating Site - Specific Dance and Performance Works

Part 1

My idea of creating a Site-specific work is to primarily bring about a change for the betterment of our society. This piece will focus on the importance of Education as a tool to educate and empower one and all. Illiteracy is a major problem that plagues the Indian society. Despite the government spending huge amounts on education, 100% literacy still remains elusive and a distant dream. In India today, 4% of our children never start school. 58% don’t complete primary schools. And 90% don’t complete school.
The site selected for this particular piece is primarily a school, which is a temple of knowledge.
Some of the filters that helped me approach and select this particular site are:
  • Physical Site - I intend to choreograph a promenade performance here which will use various corners of the school – stairs, classroom and the open field/playground each signifying and furthering the cause of education. Inside the classroom, I would like to play with various inventories available - 2 entrances, set of windows on top, one huge window, benches, chairs, blackboard, whiteboard, table, bags, duster etc. If you see the photographs below the classroom setting has not been changed here. But for my performance I would be using only 7 benches and chairs along with one teachers table.. 
There are two entrances to the class and on the other end is a very well lit window. I want to use the window as a representation that education ‘lights up lives’, that education transforms lives and leads one to enlightenment.
  • Current Use and Community – The particular school chosen is Fr. Agnel School, Noida whose vision is to “provide Excellent Education as per the principles of equality, love and brotherhood matching it with the best practices of education and student development” They also run a charitable institution called ‘The Father Agnel Ashram’ which provide shelter, education and skill training to the poor, orphaned and destitute children. I want to work with this community particularly and choreograph the finale of the performance with them in the open field.
Once the original work is choreographed in this school, I want to place this piece in different sites of "education learning'. This could range from private institutions, government schools, NGOs working for education for girls, orphans, street children and in rural India, community schools etc. I am very much inspired by the work of Martha Bower/Dance Theatre and Etcetera and Anna Halprin both of whom focus on community largely and envision to create a better world through Arts/Dance. Though I have no prior experience in creating such works, I aim to start a similar Dance based revolution in India which will promote important social causes through Dance.
Part 2
Since I aim to do a promenade performance, the audience structure varies as the choreography moves to different locations in the School. The below sketch gives a fair idea of the audience structure and where they will be placed as the choreography enfolds. I have divided the piece into 3 parts and the audience would be required to walk from one place to another.

Part 1 - The site focused is the stairs which lead to the classroom. The audience is standing on either side of the stairs.
Part 2 - The classroom setting will have 7 benches and chairs along with the teachers table as shown in the sketch. The audience will either be seated or standing around the space to view the performance. There are two entrances which can also be a gateway for the audience to view the performance from outside.
Part 3 - The audience will be seated on a raised stage in an open space where they can view the dancers in front in the open green play field.

The number of audience would vary from 20-30. Though the last stage happening in the open field can incorporate a larger number of audience, the number has been restricted due to the limitation of space available in the classroom.

The piece will not be ticketed as it's main aim is to promote a cause. Although, we could look at the options of fund raising/ donation at a later stage. The performance could run at regular intervals of time making it open for a wider audience. So once the final piece (part 3) is being performed (by the community students), the part 1 of the choreography would be started for the next audience members group.

Part 3

I sought the help of my friends to give a better illustration of the visuals of the site.

1. The below picture depicts the stairs leading to the classroom, the window, railings and stairs provide good inventory for a choreography. The audience would be placed on either side of the stairs.

image

2. The below pictures are of the classroom where part 2 of the choreography will unfold. Benches, blackboard, books, tables, windows etc will be used to enhance the site-specificity. The class setting will be changed to only have 7 benches as in the sketch below and the audience will be seated or standing around the area.

image

3. The below photos show the play-field where the performance will take place in an open field and the finale will be danced by the community students. The audience will be seated on the concrete raised platform in the background of the school building.

image

4. Audience Design and staging plan

image


Glossary:

Site - Specific Dance - Work inspired by the elements of site itself where the artistic decisions are made in dialogue with the site. 

Promenade Performance - A site - specific performance where the audience walks to specific locations within the site as the performance unfolds.

Site Inventory - Otherwise known as "casing the joint", this is a process of taking stock of what is found in a site: counting elements (windows, lights, poles), measuring distances between points, or the act of noticing simply what is there without any preconceived ideas or agendas.

So friends what do you think? I really hope I'm able to take forth my ideas and put them into actual practice and execution! Fingers crossed! 



42 comments:

  1. Hats off to you Aditi for you efforts..Taking you Passion in Dancing to change the Picture of Education in India for better is very very appreciated..Your little step towards the betterment will slowly but surely rise into a big leap for the Betterment of the Society.. :D

    I am very Happy to have a Blogger friend like you and I from all my Heart wish you Success in this Noble Deed you are working on...

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    1. Thank you Harsha...your words..your encouragement really push me n keep me going! Thank you so much :)

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  2. woow a dance ngo huh..... i hvnt heard of it before! good going....

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    1. Thanks Mina :) Really hoping to make this come true!

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  3. you obviously have a passion for dance and choreography and staging! good for you!

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  4. The idea sounds great Aditi!:)
    Keep up the amazing work gal.:)

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  5. Sounds great Adi! Impressed by your ideas and planning , good luck dear!!

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  6. How wonderful! Sounds like you have great ideas. Good luck and enjoy your dancing! ♥

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    1. Thanks Kathy :) I'm so excited with all the encouragement you guys are giving! Really appreciate :)

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  7. This indeed is a great idea. Hats off to your efforts.

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  8. Sounds exciting - wow you are talented. All the best in your endeavours. Put up a video next time :)

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    1. Thank you Suzy...will surely do...love how this idea has been accepted and created interest. Definitely will work on it now...with more enthu than before! :)

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  9. Brilliant concept! Would love to view the execution!! Best wishes!!

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  10. Aditi.. this is wowsome!! Am so happy that you had the guts to follow your heart.. keep going girl.. you have actually sown a bean to chase 'their dreams' in many a hearts i guess.. All the best for all your future endeavors!! :)

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    1. Nitya it's so wonderful to see you here....looong time....how are you dear! Thank a lot...yes the aim is definitely to ensure that everyone gets to chase their dream....working on it!

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  11. How amazing, Aditi! I'd love to see a video of you performing! I am now guiltily going to check back on the courses I enrolled for, at Coursera.

    All the best, you shiny girl!

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    1. Haha...do check back on the courses...some of them can really turn your life!
      Thank you so much for the encouragement!

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  12. Sounds Amazing Aditi!!
    I need to check out the website!

    Best of luck!

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    1. Coursera has some amazing courses...you'll definitely find something that interests you. Thanks!

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  13. Very nicely implemented and written Aditi :) .
    Best of luck for your upcoming ideas in order to take it further. Tell me if you need my help anyways...

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    1. Thanks Deepanshu...Tujhko yaad kar rahi thi last saturday...yup I'll be needing all the help :D

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  14. Oh wow, Aditi! I read this in one breath (literally) and it is so thrilling! I could actually visualize the entire performance. You will do an amazing job, I know. Go for it!

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    1. Thanks Sangeeta...Thank you so much for your encouragement dear :) Lv

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    1. :) Thank you so much ladke...so glad you finally graced this blog with your presence! ;)

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  16. I am feeling a little dwarfed at this moment. More like speechless. It looked so fancy and grand! And why do we not know about the dance moves young lady? Why not share this before! And isnt coursera like godsent? I adore that site!!

    Richa

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    1. :) :) you speechless...I should take that as a compliment! No dear...seriously it took a lot to put this idea out like this....I was so apprehensive and felt inadequate...still feel a little. But I really want to come out of my closet and just do it....you know. And all the encouragement I've had from you guys makes me believe I can!
      Oh yes coursera is special!

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  17. You made me happy Aditi. And yes you are truly beaYOUTiful. ♥

    All the best. :-)

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  18. You made me happy Aditi. And yes you are truly beaYOUTiful. ♥

    All the best. :-)

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  19. Hey...all the best on your course snd assignments :) learned a few things about dance. Not much of a dancer myself....awesome work. Follow your dream

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  20. Wow!! You have a passion for dancing and teaching it too! Super cool. I had signed up for Coursera too... but just ignored it... you have inspired me. Thanks... will look into this again. And good luck for your course and assignments. Cheers :)

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    1. Thanks Shilpa....go and explore coursera...I know you'll love it!

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