Conditions Of Carriage

Conditions of Carriage‘ is a contemporary dance piece choreographed by Preethi Athreya. Created out of tasks based on finding ways to carry the dancing bodies on and above the ground, Conditions of Carriage is a group-choreography touching upon balance, empathy, rigour and the intersection of sports and dance.

The following link is a collage of various performances of this work.

Photo credit – Sharan Devkar Shankar (at IGNITE! festival, Delhi)

Copyrights of video and photo – Preethi Athreya


Padme: The Obscure Lotus-bud


Padme– brain-child of Netherlands-based contemporary (trained in Bharatanatyam) dancer, choreographer Kalpana Raghuraman and India-based contemporary (formerly Bharatanatyam) dancer, choreographer, dance-journalist, dance-producer-presenter Anita Ratnam– has been one of those long-awaited long-advertised contemporary dance productions all over the social (dance) media. December 25th, 7:45 in the morning, Chandralekha’s Spaces– the clay-court of Indian dance performances, looking onto the waves of the Indian Ocean at Besant Nagar, Chennai, was just the apt venue and time for the troupe first time visiting the city– the soft sun and the morning-breeze cleansing the Margazhi frenzy of last evening, the smell of damp leaves and wet sand welcoming us to the sweaty clammy weighty brain-racking physicality that dance is.

I had arrived to Chennai just the day before, after a desperate year-long hunger for watching dance performances. And there it was– fresh and fleshy to be pounced upon– the one that I have been often reading and contemplating about in last few weeks. Padme has been different in many ways. Result of a cross-continental collaboration between Ratnam and Raghuraman, respectively the co-producer along with Korzo Productions and the choreographer of Padme, as well as seven young Classical dancers from Bangalore, keen and excited to travel the new path– Padme has been, from the beginning to the end, a professionally commercial piece promoting the youth as a package along with all its components of freedom, freshness and arrogance, which is often a good thing to some extent.


The program started with a music repertoire titled as Float performed by Anil Srinivasan on the piano and Krishna Kishor on the percussion. I am a regular back-bencher when it comes to music shows, but that day it was not just my intrinsic musical shyness but also the already packed rows of chairs replacing the more frequently present striped carpets at The Spaces. As it happens with music, it was possibly working for some and not for the rest. I was one of the latter. I repeat though– I am really a philistine when it comes to music; besides I might have been too distracted trying to save myself from nature’s well-directed droppings from the overhead greenery. Yet, what put me off that day was not that particular form of art but its presentation in a manner of calculated corporate nicety, even during the Jugalbandi. Somehow it did not fit as a justified inauguration to an experimental art-piece! But then there was the Narthaki booklet in bright red and black with thousand dance anecdotes as well as the inimitable enigma of Anita Ratnam herself with all of her five feet and eight inches to keep my eyes occupied. For such a long time she has been a name to look up to for so many young Classical dancers (including myself, ages back, in a workshop in Kolkata) all over India, providing some of them with space, money and most importantly inspiration to work differently within but at the same time out of the Classical terrains, to come out of the labyrinth of the guru-shishya parampara and claim one’s Art as one’s own. But of course after the claim comes the matter of accepting the responsibility of it. That is where Padme failed.

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Across, Not Over

Across, Not Over is a collaborative dance production choreographed by Preethi Athreya – contemporary dancer/choreographer based in Chennai, performed by Kathak dancer/choreographer Vikram Iyengar – Artistic Director of Ranan: a performance collective-cum-dance institute based in Kolkata. renov14u Concept/ Choreography – Preethi Athreya

Performer – Vikram Iyengar
Venue – Spaces, Elliot’s Beach, Besant Nagar, Chennai
Music arrangement – Siddhartha Bhattacharyya
Vocal – Sudokhshina Manna Chatterjee
Sound score/ Scenography – Preethi Athreya
Publicity design – Pravin Kannanur
Videography – Vijay Bhoothalingam/ Pravin/ Akhilesh
Co-produced by India Foundation for the Arts.

The full-length production can be viewed here –

The piece celebrates the subtle movements of the genderless ‘Kathak-body’ – much neglected in comparison to the more catchy-therefore-famous trademarks of Kathak – the footwork, the twirl and the ‘Rasa‘, in particular ‘Sringara’. The intricate expressions of the ‘kalai’ (wrist), the circular and linear motions of the upper body announcing the often unrecognized deep-set relationship of the muscles with the solar plexus, the lightweight angular head-movements that generate the mood and soul of Kathak are highlighted in the performance.

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Ponniyin Selvan – A Magic Lantern Production

Keeping in mind all the various possible implications of the word `large-scale’ in theater, the reincarnation of Kalki‘s Ponniyin Selvan by Magic Lantern (2014) – directed by Pravin Kannanur – has been one of the most large-scale Indian experimental urban theater productions in recent times.


(Preethi Athreya as Kundavai and Srikrishna Dayal as Vanthiyathevan)

Excerpts from The Hindu, Chennai:

“Kamban, the author of Ramayanam , said that his effort to portray the life of Rama is akin to a cat aspiring to drink the water of the ‘parkadal’.

Condensing the five volumes of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s  Ponniyin Selvan , which ran as a serial for four years, into a three-and-a-half hour play is no mean task. As 2014 marks the completion of 60 years of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, Chennai-based production company SS International Live and theatre group Magic Lantern have adapted the novel for the stage. It will be performed for a week at Music Academy from June 8.

“We have adapted the novel in such a way that all the 55 characters we have culled out from the novel will appeal to the audience,” says Pravin, the director of the play.”

After a whole month (June-July 2014 ) of continuous performances in and around Chennai, here is Ponniyin Selvan with its reviews and photos at Magic Lantern’s own space.

(The Ponniyin Selvan Group)

Photo Courtesy – G. Venkatram

B21 Improvisation – A Review


“Preethi pulled Chandana into her circle of obsession and in turn acquired Chandanas’s stable serenity. She countered Chandana’s proposition of an abstract definiteness with a frenzied narrative of familiar gestures”… it was when I wrote this line I simultaneously realized that I was increasingly sounding like a football commentator gone slightly askew in her mind, and that it was really three whole hours that had passed since I came in. It was not an extremely intense technique-based three hours. Rather cornily, it felt like a fun time that allowed both a bit of work and a bit of gobbledygook, and finally seemed to get over before one would like it to. The genre of fun might have had a shade of the obscure, or more appropriately a hint of uncertainty. But that might have been the whole point of the session –one that probably made each participant think, search and improvise beyond the grids of the auditorium of the Alliance Francaise of Madras.

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‘Stranger In Indian Paradise’ With David Rolland

Recently David Rolland Choréographies created `Stranger in Indian Paradise‘ – a contemporary dance production in association with Basement 21 and through The Embassy of France in India, Institut Français en Inde, the Alliance Française de Delhi and the Alliance Française network presented two shows in Chennai and Delhi, as part of DanSe DialogueS festival, from April 11 to 29, 2014 throughout India.

L’Etranger au Paradis Indien

The production featured ten dancers walking on carpets of different designs (by David Rolland and Sumant Jayakrishnan) – the walk varying with each carpet. The styles of walking were inspired from the designs – sometimes airy and animatedly `dancy’ along the colorful, curves, sometimes grave and heavy, exploring tensions created by the contrast of the vibrant base, the playfulness of the intersecting lines and the achromatic intensity of the moving bodies, sometimes ethereal, almost weightless like memories from remote past.

Excerpts of the production can be viewed here:

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Light Doesn’t Have Arms To Carry Us

`Light doesn’t have arms to carry us‘ is a contemporary dance piece created and performed by Preethi Athreya – contemporary dancer based in Chennai.

The following video is of a full-length performance of the same at Alliance Francaise of Madras.

Copyrights of photo and video – Preethi Athreya