May 26: Writing on Dance

Dance Dialogues is pleased to announce ‘Writing on Dance’, a day-long workshop that examines multiple relationships between writing and dance. To be held on Sunday, May 26, 2013, it includes exercises and discussions on writing about one’s artistic practice, writing as part of one’s creative process and trends and developments in dance writing. The workshop is facilitated by Sampurna Chattarji, Vikram Iyengar and Ranjana Dave.

How does a dancer write about her dance? How does a poet write about her poem? What makes writing about one’s own practice so fiendishly difficult and yet, at times, so fiercely desirable? Poet, novelist and translator Sampurna Chattarji will work with dancers to look at ways in which artists write about their own art, exploring, among other things, the relationship between words and movement.

Can writing contribute to a dancer’s creative process? Can one write keeping the rational mind at bay, somewhat like a dancer improvises spontaneously to music? Can one make writing a space of play, a space of possibility which inspires, clarifies, questions and illuminates a dancer’s technique, process and practice? Drawing from his own process of creating experimental dance-theatre work, dancer, choreographer and performing arts researcher/writer based Vikram Iyengar will share his experiences and learnings, illustrated with examples from production work.

Meanwhile, the dance writer must find ways to articulate the essence of the dance in words. Dance writing is no longer unidirectional and what is most striking about its present form is that it allows for a multiplicity of expressions. Writing could be a form of recording personal observations or writing for the media. We use examples to unearth multiple possibilities of thinking and writing about dance, in ways that encompass critique but are not limited to it.  This is an open discussion facilitated by Ranjana Dave and Vikram Iyengar.

More about the three facilitators below the other details…


Date: Sunday May 26, 2013
Venue: Library, 1st Floor, Goethe-Institut Mumbai (Max Mueller Bhavan), K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda
Time: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
Workshop fee: Rs. 600
Contact to register. Prior registration is a must.

The workshop fee does not include lunch. Please be on time!

In cooperation with Goethe-Institut Mumbai.

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI is a poet, novelist and translator with ten books to her credit, and three forthcoming. Born in Ethiopia in November 1970, Sampurna grew up in Darjeeling, graduated from New Delhi, and is now based in Mumbai/Thane. Her debut poetry collection, Sight May Strike You Blind, published by the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Academy of Letters) in 2007 was reprinted in 2008.  Sampurna’s poetry has appeared in Indian and international journals such as The Little Magazine, New Quest, Chandrabhaga, Indian Literature (India); Stand Magazine, Wasafiri (UK); Drunken Boat, The Literary Review (USA); Wespennest (Germany), Interlitq (Argentina), Carapace (South Africa) and has been anthologized in 60 Indian Poets (Penguin); Both Sides of The Sky (NBT); We Speak in Changing Languages (Sahitya Akademi); Interior Decoration: poems by 54 women from 10 languages (Women Unlimited); Imagining Ourselves (IMOW, San Francisco); Fulcrum (Fulcrum Poetry Press, US), The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, UK) and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry. Her 2004 translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry and prose Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray was reissued in 2008 as a Puffin Classic titled Wordygurdyboom! She has also translated the Bengali poet Joy Goswami. Sampurna has authored several books for young people, including The Fried Frog and Other Funny Freaky Foodie Feisty Poems (Scholastic 2009) which has gone into several reprints. Her first novel, Rupture, was published by HarperCollins in 2009 and her second poetry book, Absent Muses, by Poetrywala in 2010. Her second novel, Land of the Well, was published in 2012 by HarperCollins. Her latest book, Dirty Love (Penguin, March 2013), is a collection of short stories about Mumbai. Sampurna was the 2012 Charles Wallace writer-in-residence at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

Initiated into Kathak by Smt. Rani Karnaa, Vikram Iyengar is a dancer, choreographer, theatre director and performing arts researcher/writer based in Calcutta, India where he heads the performance company – Ranan. A top grade solo artist with Doordarshan with performances across India and abroad, he is registered with several prestigious institutions like the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Kathak Kendra, Delhi; the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Calcutta; and the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai.

A recipient of the Government of India National Scholarship and National Junior Fellowship, he holds a Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangit Samiti, Allahabad. An INLAKS scholar with an MA in Performing Arts from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, he has taught Asian and Intercultural Theatre at BA and MA levels in the UK, contributed articles to various national and foreign publications, presented papers at international seminars, conducted a variety of workshops and worked on several arts research projects for institutions in India and abroad. He is currently co-editor of the India Theatre Forum performance e-journal, e-Rang.

Noted for the conscious bringing together of classical dance, movement and drama creating an experience of total theatre, Vikram’s production work spans choreography for stage and film, dance-theatre and dance-film explorations, and performance collaborations with several performance directors in Europe. Co-founder of Ranan, Vikram is Artistic Director of the company.

RANJANA DAVE is an Odissi dancer and dance writer based in Bombay. Some of her writings have appeared in The Hindu, Time Out, NCPA On Stage, Asian Age and The Indian Express. She has worked towards curating an archive of the performing arts for the online archive Her interests coalesce around dance, towards discovering an interdisciplinary approach to dance practices. She is the co-founder of Dance Dialogues.