Interface 2014: A panorama of dances across the world
- Sulagna Mukhopadhyay
Photos courtesy: Sapphire

October 15, 2014

INTERFACE or International Festival of Alternative and Contemporary Expressions is a  biennial project of Sapphire Creations and Arts Forward. Despite funding crunch, the festival is visiting main cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore and from this year Chandigarh gets added to the list. A common platform for non-mainstream dance creations, Interface undoubtedly dishes out to its audience choreographies that create a true spirit of global artistic exchange. This year’s venues in Kolkata were G.D. Birla Sabhaghar and Max Mueller Bhavan.

Paramita Saha, Sudarshan Chakravorty, Ratan Thiyam

Foyer opening


Double Tree

Beginning on 15th September, the festival continued for three consecutive days and each day there were two groups with their productions. Eminent artists like Ratan Thiyam and Mohua Mukhopadhyay were felicitated by Sudarshan Chakravorty, the Artistic Director of Sapphire.  Besides, every day students and budding choreographers of Sapphire presented their welcome dances at the foyer of both G.D.Birla Sabhaghar and Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata. 

The group presented Parivahitam for the first time for its Kolkata audience. The concept is drawn from shirobheda (head movement) in Natya Shastra. Parivahitam symbolizes the gamut of possibilities amidst which we survive. As children we all want to be perfect, but with age we realize the futility of our dreams. The piece begins with a solo presence of the protagonist dancer, who seems to be in a trance. She tries to imitate the world, which is in reality farfetched. The reality intrudes into her wishful life and shatters her dreams. Sudarshan has blended contemporary movements with Bharatanatyam to express nostalgia and childhood aspirations, their limitations and achievements.

Artistic director Robert Moses of the company Robert Moses Kin, San Francisco, has created a broad repertory of works ranging from oral traditions in African American culture to the complex themes of parentage and identity. Robert’s Company presented Double Tree. It is an abstract item comprising of both company standards and completely new work. There were two new works in progress, a company standard ‘Doscongio’, two duets ‘Hush’ and ‘State of Annihilation’, two anti-war works ‘Nevabewarldapece’ and ‘Cause’. He worked with three dancers. Robert is brilliant and there is a projection of perpetual harmony of strength, beauty and grace. There are quite a few beautiful moments but at times it seemed difficult for the choreography to hold its own.

T.H.E  Dance Company

Children in the foyer

The second day September 16 saw two choreographic works presented by The Human Expression Dance Company from Singapore. Swee Boon Kuik is the artistic director and choreographer. While he choreographed As it Fades, Jae Duk Kim created RE: OK…BUT!, two   important full length dance theatre productions of  T.H.E. Company. The traditional Asian culture and heritage which is on the wane seems to have influenced the choreographers’ thought process. Both reflect relationships, the stress and turmoil in today’s life that hamper those relationships. There is depth, clarity and artistry in both productions. The dancers shift between memory and reality, shadow and light. Kim blended street dance along with contemporary dance to portray dark humour. Both the pieces were spectacular. It was quite disheartening to see a fair size crowd that made its presence felt on the first day, diminished unknowingly on the following day.

On the final day, the festival shifted to the auditorium of Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata. Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts, Mumbai, presented Saki Naka. It is a dance theatrical piece based on Sumeet’s interactions with a homeless person for one year. The piece has spoken script, miming and the body is used as a communicative tool for highlighting key incidents of the hapless, homeless character. Filled with polished lightness and darkened sadness, the piece formed another phase of Interface. A clever match of swishy movements, twirls, flailing knees and elbows are skillful examples of the choreographer’s imagination. The piece was performed by Sumeet and Sasha Nagdev. There are a few prosaic moments between Sumeet and Sasha which could have been developed a bit further.

Paramita Saha in Ahalya

Saki Naka

The concluding piece of the festival was by Paramita Saha, the co-director of Sapphire Creations Dance Company and Interface 2014. She presented Ahalya Unwritten. Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama Maharishi was seduced by Indra and she was cursed by her husband for infidelity. Paramita tried to express through her performance that the world has become modern but attitude towards women have not changed. The production is powerful, shocking and grittily theatrical.

Sulagna Mukhopadhyay was trained in Bharatanatyam by Guru Thankamani Kutty and Indian folk by Late Botu Pal. She has an M.A. in Comparative Literature and has freelanced for various leading newspapers of Kolkata like The Telegraph, The Statesman and Ananda Bazar Patrika. She has written articles on dance and gender issues. She is a teacher of South Point School since 1996.