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.

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Wall Dancing

Wall Dancing‘ (2012) is a three hours long dance production choreographed by Chennai-based contemporary dancer Padmini Chettur in the year 2012. It explores the relationship of the dancer’s body, alone and collectively, with the surfaces around her. A wall that a dancer leans on can be a real wall, or the floor, or other bodies in the same space, or even the vacuum. The audience is encouraged to move within the space to explore the three-dimensionality of the piece.


MusicMaarten Visser

Video – Vishwanadhan, Nadine Tarbouriech

Performers – Akila, Aarabi, Aditi, Madhushree and Palani

Venue – Focus Art Gallery, TTK Road, Chennai, India

Watch excerpts from the performance here or watch it directly from the playlist:

Copyrights of photo and video – Padmini Chettur

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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Beautiful Thing 2

`Beautiful thing 2′ (2011) is a contemporary dance piece created and performed by Padmini Chettur (http://www.padminichettur.com) – contemporary dance maker based in Chennai.

MusicMaarten Visser

Performer – Padmini Chettur

Watch Beautiful Thing 2 here –

(This video features a performance of the work at Singapore Arts Festival 2011)

A conversation of Padmini with Zasha Colah during Untitled Exhibition 1, curated by Clarkhouse Collective, can be found here at pad.ma.

Excerpts from the conversation –
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Beautiful Thing 1

Beautiful thing 1‘ (2009) is a contemporary dance piece created by Padmini Chettur – contemporary dance maker based in Chennai.


Literary consultantVivek 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.

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`Pushed’ (2006) is a 80 minutes long dance piece created by Padmini Chettur – contemporary dance maker based in Chennai., supported by Arts Council Korea.

The full-length production can be viewed here in four parts.

MusicMaarten Visser.

Musicians – Lee, Hway-yeon – ajaeng Park, Ji-hye – haegum Park, Young-seung – komungo.

Facilitator – Kim Kwang-Lim.

Costume – Metaphors.

Light – Zuleikha Chaudhari.

Co-production – Seoul Performing Arts Festival, Padmini Chettur.

Performers – Padmini Chettur, Krishna Devanandan, Anoushka Kurien, Divya Rolla, Akila and Ashwini Bhat.

Links to individual videos

  (Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

Selected moments from the production can be seen here.

Copyrights of the video and the photo – Padmini Chettur