Dance Umbrella: Out of India

Hema Bharati Palani: Courtesy the Artist

This is Indian dance beyond classical and bollywood – it's a slice of life from the Subcontinent shorn of hype and sentimentality.

Emma Gladstone, Director of Dance Umbrella, was in Chennai last November on a judging panel for a new Contemporary dance award.

She was enthused by the diversity of movement vocabularies: "the heritage the dancers draw from is so rich – some old new and some new some invented old... as a nation they are hugely connected and plugged into dance".

She selected three pieces that will be showcased at The Pit, Barbican from the 21st to 24th October 2015: a solo, duet and a five-man ensemble.

Hemabharathy Palani of Attakalari, Bangalore performs a solo, Trikonanga which uses the idea of geometry and triangles of bharatanatyam, first created for Ballet National de Marseilles in 2013.  Says Emma, "Hema has her hair gelled in a triangle and looks like a temple, not just a dancer from a temple. The piece is quite visceral and out there."

Surjit Nompeigapam from the North Eastern state of Manipur, reflects the social and political reality of his home state which has been in conflict with the Indian government over the past two decades. In a work for five, Nerves uses props and projections with traditional martial arts and hip-hop in a piece about protest and civil action in face of establishment brutality.

The third, a duet choreographed by Deepak Kukri Shivaswamy has as the central characters two regular blokes who could be out there building the highway into Bangalore. They are caught up in the clash of cultures of tradition and modernisation that has swept swathes of India, and to keep sane, they must seek out coping mechanisms.

Join the Pulse Dance Club on Wednesday 21st October : Out of India – Modern Moves