Thus far in 2015 Post Natyam Collective members have been busy engaged in a rich combination of performance, writing, research, and choreographing new works. In January, Shyamala collaborated with visual artist Sayon Syprasoeuth and dancer Jack Nguon to create “Yearning to Bloom,” a piece about birth and transformation. Cynthia and Shyamala’s “Super Ruwaxi: Origins” was performed at IGNITE! Festival of Contemporary Dance in Delhi with Ulka Simone Mohanty playing Urvashi. Sandra traveled to India during IGNITE!, joining Cynthia and Ulka “backstage” as well as attending Rani Nair’s performance of Future Memory, which she is writing about for her postdoctoral research. The collective’s video manifesto, “Yes to Each Other: A Cyber-Manifesto,” edited by Prumsodun Ok and featuring Sandra Chatterjee, Cynthia Ling Lee, Shyamala Moorty, and Anjali Tata-Hudson, was also screened at IGNITE!
In February Cynthia and Shyamala performed “Mixed Bag” at UNCG and “rapture/rupture” for Confetti Sunrise, part of the Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance series. Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance is an Oxford University Press project curated and edited by Clare Croft, to be released in 2017, which will include a peer-reviewed anthology on queer dance scholarship and a companion website of performances and interviews. The book will include a co-authored essay by Sandra and Cynthia entitled “’our love was not enough': queering gender, cultural belonging, and desire in contemporary abhinaya.”
In March, Shyamala culminated a three year project as choreographer for TeAda Productions’ “Global Taxi Driver,” which premiered at East West Players.
She also continues to produce Pop-Up Teada events — save May 30th for the next one! Meena co-choreographed and performed a duet called “I Witness” with Anusha Kedhar at Colorado College. This piece attempts to express and embody the performers’ feelings and positionality to #blacklivesmatter and continued police brutality against black people in the US. Sound was composed by d. Sabela grimes, and the initial creative process was choreographed in collaboration with Sheetal Gandhi. Meena is a recipient of the CHIME mentorship program, for which she (as mentee) is currently engaged in a creative process with multimedia artist Carole Kim (mentor). Meena has also joined Taisha Paggett’s recently formed movement company and is working with choreographer Ros Warby.
In April, Cynthia’s two new works, “A Quirky Cast of Queer Characters” and “Dreamsicle,” will be performed at UNCG. In addition, she will present a paper on our Queering Abhinaya process at the Open Embodiments: Somatechnics conference at the University of Arizona. Cynthia’s article, “The Post Natyam Collective: Building a Grassroots Community Online” will be published by Routledge in Dance Education Around the World: Perspectives on Dance, Young People and Change (eds. Charlotte Svendler Nielsen and Stephanie Burridge) in April 2015.
1. Tucson, USA. 15 April 2015: Cynthia presents her paper, “”Rerouting the Gaze: the Post Natyam Collective’s Choreographies of Queer Affect” at the Open Embodiments: Somatechnics in Tucson conference.
This paper looks at emergent choreographies of queer affect by analyzing selected aspects of Queering Abhinaya, an ongoing collaboration of the Post Natyam Collective. The raw, in-progress studies emerging from the Queering Abhinaya process reimagine classical Indian affective techniques of embodied performance while rerouting dominant colonial, male, and heterosexual mechanisms of the gaze through dance, video, and poetic text. They ask: how can racialized, hybrid, (post)colonial female subjects gaze back at the masculinist and Orientalizing gaze of the colonizer? How do the colonizer and colonized live together inside one body? How might we choreograph an emergent queer female gaze that overturns the western camera’s male gaze and the hetero-patriarchal narratives of love and desire that inform Indian abhinaya viewing conventions? How might we perform from the position of a postcolonial, queer, desiring female viewer of color?
On the conference: Bodies are enfleshed, but not enclosed: they are open, radically so—biologically, environmentally, socially, politically, and affectively. Open Embodiments is an international conference marking the relocation of the Somatechnics Research Network to the University of Arizona’s new Center for Critical Studies of the Body. The Somatechnics Research Network is an international, transdisciplinary group interested in the “always already” technologized nature of embodiment. Somatechnics conjoins an open-ended curiosity about embodiment in our contemporary techno-nature-culture contexts with an ethics of embodied difference derived from feminist, queer, transgender, disability, and critical race methodologies.
Thurs, April 16, 12:45-2 pm; Information: https://body.arizona.edu/
2. Greensboro, USA. 17-18 April 2015: Cynthia’s new works, “A Quirky Cast of Queer Characters” and “Dreamsicle” premiere at UNCG’s Spring Dances.
Talking cats, drag queens, marching bands, and puppet-masters collide in “A Quirky Cast of Queer Characters,” a 9-person ensemble work created in collaboration with UNCG repertory students. This playful collage of theatrical non-sequiturs is driven by unconventional translations of kathak rhythms. In “Dreamsicle,” Cynthia collaborates with Stephany Rayburn in a talking-dancing improvisational duet where the performers ruminate, digress, and connect in the moment around the idea of dreams. Spring Dances features repertory and solo choreography choreographed by UNCG faculty members and guest artists, including Cynthia Ling Lee, Justy Tornow and Amy Beasley.
April 17, 2015, 8 pm; April 18, 2015, 2 pm and 8 pm // UNCG Dance Theater
Tickets: $12 general / $9 seniors & children / $9 non-UNCG students/ $6 UNCG students
Call 866.579.4TIXX or purchase online via Triad Stage
SAVE THE DATE
Santa Monica, USA. 30 May, 2015: Join Shyamala for Pop-Up Teada’s Spring Performance!
Exciting collaboration between amazing Latino artists Cocina Abierta and Teatro Luna developing delicious stories with food-makers, restaurant workers, and artists. Join our Pop Up Teada Facebook Group for updates on time and location and like our Facebook page.