Asian Music and Dance

Korzo Indian Dance Festival

After years of upheaval in the Dutch theatre world due to budget cuts, calm has been restored. The Korzo Theater will go on and is strengthening its roots every year. Through the years the theatre has fostered a community where tradition and evolution have become inseparable friends. People live, eat, drink, watch movies and feel connected with one another here. It has a broad programme that enables Dutch audiences to connect with all varieties of Indian dance. This year, the Indian Film Festival and the Indian Music Festival were also held at the same time. The whole happening took over three venues in The Hague.

Classical and contemporary dance in one festival: that’s what makes the annual Korzo Indian Dance Festival unique on the European continent. It is present, past and future; it is Indian and Dutch. It seeks the free form in the ancient and the established in the present. Korzo’s artistic director Leo Spreksel wants to showcase all Indian dance, from its pure forms to contemporary derivatives, whether it comes from India or is performed by Dutch-based dancers, and professionals and amateurs go hand-in-hand. In this year’s festival, twenty-five Indian artists (including Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company, Neena Prasad, Meenakshi Srinivasan and Revanta Sarabhai) and 100 Dutch-based artists contributed to the richness of this multi-faceted festival. 

The theatre not only provides a stage, but can also guide the Dutch-based dancers who get in touch with dramaturgy and directing through their participation in the festival. 

For the 2014 festival the dancers were invited to:

Involve the body in the expression

Hari and Chetna, the mesmerising Bangalore-based kathak dance couple participated in last year’s edition of the dance festival. This year they were challenged by the artistic director to dance with a different intention, to involve their bodies more in the expression of dance and let their bodies speak. It was an intense experience for the dancers to be influenced from a different source. In Isha, they showed a sober, stylish and breathtaking dance drama for two dancers.

Tell your story in your own way

Shailesh Bahoran, who has a background in breakdance, hip-hop and poppin ‘n’ lockin, has matured impressively over the past year on the stage of modern Indian dance. His theme, ‘Heritage’, is being explored in every new performance. Sat Cit Ananda, the duet he dances with Rajiv Bhagwanbali, advances his theme. His dance vocabulary is enriched and deepened and enables him to tell his own story in his own way. The invitation to dance in the modern dance company of Conny Janssen is a logical step in his growth.

Inspiration from the present

Kandam Ostinato by Kalpana Raghuraman premièred at this festival: an enthralling piece for three dancers in which the five counts beat is used to express the forever-inspiring present through beautifully-chosen music. Kalpana shows an innovative choreography which is infused with a touch of humour. This time she has asked herself how we can hold on to our ideals instead of making them subordinate to the opinions of others. 

Free from what we already know

The starting point of the journey of exploration may be different for every choreographer. Under Spreksel’s guidance they are all looking for current themes in which they can express themselves with their own dance moves and newly-found free forms. It is a matter of letting go of what’s been done before, building up again and creating something new in a contemporary form. Spreksel’s aim is to guide the dancers to release the contemporary from the captivity of the tried and true. 

How can dance material be used to deepen the imagination? In Hari and Chetna’s case it was about making dance moves more abstract. Kalpana’s starting-point comes from current themes and searches for a deeper form of expression. For every dancer, there is a different answer and way to proceed.



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