Kolam: Strangers in Indian Paradise

Kolam‘ (2014) is an 11 minutes long dance piece choreographed by Chennai-based contemporary dancer Padmini Chettur commissioned by French choreographer David Rollandas part of the contemporary performance project ‘Stranger in Indian Paradise‘ conceptualized and created by David Rolland Choréographies in association with Basement 21. It shows ten dancers walking on a 400 sq. ft. carpet decorated with a gigantic kolam. The dancers move along the curved lines halted by grids for the steps. As is the baseline of Rolland’s project (a continuation of an earlier project named ‘Stranger in the Paradise’), the dancers walk with the aid of pre-recorded audio guided scores. The stark contrast of the intense calm, concentration and sense of rhythm of the inner dancer’s self strictly following the individual set of instructions (recorded by Chettur and Rolland) through earphones, the apparently crude and chaotic background score (audible to the audience only) composed by Maarten Visser and the lighting designed by Rolland – ranging from a flat white (bright against the vivid purple of the floor) to the robotic lighting towards the end leads this short artistic statement to a dramatic high. 

Music – Maarten Visser

Carpet design – Sumant Jayakrishnan

Photography and Videography – David Rolland, the Alliance Française de Delhi

Venue – Kamani Auditorium, Delhi, India (as part of DanSe DialogueS festival, India, 2014)

Watch excerpts from the performance here or directly from the Youtube page.

The rehearsals were held at the Alliance Française de Madras and Kamani Auditorium, Delhi.

Rehearsal at AF Madras

The collaborative project (also with Preethi Athreya) involved three more carpets with various designs, or more precisely various geometric moods as well as a short solo piece created by Athreya inspired by Tony Bennett‘s song Stranger in Paradise on a carpet designed by David Rolland.

Excerpts of the rest of the performance can be seen here.

Photo and Video copyrights: David Rolland

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