The City Dances

A city embodies a multitude of features — the concrete structures, its people, the economy and the social system, among others. Apart from tangible features, there is also an energy that rushes through it. However, the city that dwells in the mind of Jayachandran Palazhy, artistic director of Bengaluru-based Attakalari, is close to the one we live in. Quintessential elements of the mayhem on streets — noises of bellowing vendors, loud music emanating from a temple megaphone or the static crackling of cricket commentary on radio — seep in from nowhere. This is a part of Palazhy's contemporary visual arts production AadhaaraChakra a Dancelogue that explores the art of a cityscape. After a preview in Bengaluru on November 23, the site-specific performance will premier in Delhi on December 1.

"I've always been interested in the art of landscapes in cities on modern India," says Palazhy, adding, "The Goethe Institut asked me to create something about cityscapes, which worked out perfectly well. Yet, I didn't want just another piece on the city. I wanted a neighbourhood and the life around it, where people from different communities live together." The "mixed-media" production, hence, enlivens the domestic life in a traditional Chettinad house, a "Hindu culture of South India", along with the rituals of Shiva temples in South India and the "architectural memories" of Delhi through structures such as Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar. "They are silent witnesses to people and history," he adds. The performance involves dance, film, light, props, multimedia and sound. A part of the ongoing Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities, the 70-minute performance involves a diverse crew — music composers Sam Auinger and Martin Lutz from Germany, light designer Pipon from France, digital design by Ken Furudate from Japan and set design by Dominic Dube from Canada. The performance, executed by the Attakalari Repertory Company, will also be the curtain raiser for Attakalari India Biennial 2013.

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