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UEBERGANG - "Multikulti"
photo:Artur Ikishima

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"Dance theatre has developed into such an archeology of ways of life. Gesture, movement and space are elements of an aesthetic of crossing boundaries, which seeks to develop a new way of perceiving in opposition to ready-made worlds of images which tamper with our ways of seeing."
(Inge Baxmann, 1990)

Technique and Tradition:
the Laban/Bartenieff System in the learning Indian Classical Dance

Laban Conference 2002 Panel "Performing Arts"

Between East and West:
Rainbow Melodies over Dance Theater Skies

A Review of Rajyashree Ramesh Academy for Performing Arts at the Staatliche Museen-Dahlem, Berlin, November 10th, 2001
by Ciane Fernandes

"The greatness of Bharata Natyam, for me, lies in its ability to harmonise the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions of life, giving the dance the power to touch and to communicate at all levels. Being a composite art, it synthesises melody and rhythm, painting and sculpture, poetry and theatre. The dancer is simultaneously the musician, singing with her body... She is the sculptor, shaping and structuring space in forms both graceful and powerful. She is the painter, adding tints and hues to a line drawing... She is the poet, writing her poems with movement, gestures and expressions. Ultimately she is the seeker, whose dance becomes a transcendental, transforming experience - an ecstatic prayer that celebrates the beauty, the wonder and the mistery of life." Alarmél Valli

Since 1997, Ciane has been working with actors' body training at the Federal University of Bahia, also teaching dancers from this university and other institutions, through the graduate courses Contemporary Dance Theater and Movement Analysis, and in the productions of the A-FETO Dance Theater (*), under her direction. From the data collected so far, in relation to traditional and contemporary dance theater, the continuation of this study will open lots of technical and performative possibilities of application in other centers of the country, providing and facilitating the learning of a technique of difficult apprehension.

(*) In Portuguese, A-FETO means both affection and fetus.

Ciane has observed, for example, the difference between Bharatanatyam and Orixa dance (from the Afro-Brazilian Candomble religion), which she has studied with Joselito Santos and Suzana Martins. Although, consisting both of complex aesthetic-cultural-religious polytheist systems, with a dance connected to nature's forces, Hindu and Afro-Brazilian Candomble dances have quite distinct expressive qualities, postures and rhythms. The Candomble dances, although quite complex, are to a certain extent absorbed in popular street dances of Bahia, and their rhythm does not seem difficult to the Bahian body (Ciane hasn't had the opportunity to observe classes of this tecnique in other Brazilian states).
On the other hand, Bharatanatyam is a totally foreign system, with its rigid and agile postures, stable pelvis, detailed hand gestures and facial expressions completely new and distinct of national rhythms such as frevo or samba.
Ciane hopes this study opens up possibilities of cultural interchange, recognizing and validating differences as learning challenges and stimuli for enhancing the body (which for Laban, as much as for Bharata Muni (1) and Candomble "dancers", includes all aspects mentioned by Valli (2) - from emotional to spiritual), expanding creative possibilities (as for Bausch and Chandralekha (3)) much beyond post-industrial, productive, docile and disoriented limitations.

photo: Cláudio Etges

(1) author of Natyashastra manuscript (Theory of Drama) - the oldest and more complete treatise about performing arts, written 200 years before Christ.
(2)Bharatanatyam dancer, considered to be the leader dancer of Bharatanatyam of her generation.
(3) In 1994, Bausch and her international company travelled to India, where they had several presentations in a tour with Chandralekha, Indian contemporary choreographer trained in Bharatanatyam.

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PPGAC-UFBA / The Post Graduate Program of Performing Arts at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Adress: Avenida Araújo Pinho, no. 292, Bairro Canela, Salvador CEP: 00000-000 Phone/fax: +55 71 32837858