‘Beautiful thing 1‘ (2009) is a contemporary dance piece created by Padmini Chettur – contemporary dance maker based in Chennai.
Literary consultant – Vivek Narayanan.
Light – Jan Maerten.
Technical support – Gilles Richards.
Costumes – Vlls Designstudio, Padmini Chettur.
Production – Phileas Productions.
Co-production – Theatre de la ville, Paris; Szene Salzburb, Salzburg; India foundation for the Arts; Radialsystem , Berlin.
Performers – Padmini Chettur, Preethi Athreya, Akila, Anoushka Kurien and Sujata Goel.
“I see this work as a construction. A construction in space, a construction of time. The dancers are the discreet segments of a unique mathematical equation. An equation that is balanced, where disjointedness is sewn together. Blocks of movements are added, subtracted, multiplied until finally we arrive at meaning.
The ‘blocks’ or vocabulary of the work are randomly created by the dancers who were alloted a series of body parts. For instance – right shoulder, left hip, centre, right shoulder connect, defining the space surrounding their bodies. Simultaneously, a map inside their bodies. Time based processes are applied to the ‘phrases’, as a way to experience the ‘slowing down, speeding up, starting or stopping of the movement. Speed is then merely relative, slow and fast co-dependent. Time is now experienced, its passing felt. It forces the body to be light or heavy. It determines whether we walk or run. It is sometimes quiet, sometimes noisy.
Overlaying this mostly silent performance is a narrative which helps keep the dancers within the structure correctly. The dancers evolve a text of sound and words that fill the emptiness that dance invariable evokes. A text that tells us who they are, why they are there. A text that bridges the inaccessibility of movement with the clarity of word. Or is it the honesty of movement with the ambiguity of word? Note: When I created my first work in 1994 I did it simply to create a dance that would be expressive. I saw dance as an expression of the self. In 2000 with Fragility I thought dance would change the world; that simply by creating a radical performance peoples perceptions of India would change, that in the world of art equality was a possibility. In 2008 I don’t think one can fight the big battles of culture, identity, or politics through dance. The beauty of small simple unwasteful things. I want to be economic and precise. To create a `beautiful thing’. ” – Padmini Chettur
Copyrights of photo and video – Padmini Chettur