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  • October 16


October 16
Registration, INR 300 for all three days of the conference
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Startup Tunnel, Vihara Innovation Network, D-57 Chattarpur Enclave, 100ft Road, New Delhi- 110074

Activism and Sexuality in Performance | 90 min
Navtej Singh Johar, Mandeep Raikhy

Moderated by Gautam Bhan


  • How can dance call into question the binaries of public and private (spaces)?
  • How does one’s individual politics around sexuality shape and inform dance making? How is this situated within the larger grid of queer politics in the country?
  • What is the particular role that the body plays in activism, which is a highly performative mode of articulation where the activist’s body evinces physical exertion and strain to express protest and dissent?
  • What is the particular relationship between the political and the aesthetic in making art that has strong connections to sexuality and activism?

Navtej Singh Johar is a leading dancer/choreographer, yoga exponent and urban activist. He trained in Bharatanatyam at Kalakshetra and learnt yoga at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India. While pursuing a degree in Cultural Anthropology at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University, he exposed himself to various modern dance vocabularies and performed with many renowned dance companies across the globe. His own practice traverses freely between the traditional and the contemporary, twines critical theory with practice, and focuses on the materiality of body in dance and performance. Currently, Johar is a teaching faculty at the Department of Performing Arts, Ashoka University, Sonipat, India; and a fellow at the ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ International Research Centre, Freie University, Berlin. In the year 2000, he founded Studio Abhyas, a non-profit organization dedicated to dance, yoga, urban activism and the care of stray animals at New Delhi.

Mandeep Raikhy is a dancer and choreographer based out of New Delhi. He pursued his BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban, London, and worked with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company for several years. He has created 3 full-length works, Inhabited Geometry (2010), a male ant has straight antennae (2013) and Queen-size (2016) and divides his time between creating and touring his artistic work and his work at Gati Dance Forum as its Managing Director.

Gautam Bhan is Lead, Academics and Research, at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements. At IIHS, Gautam teaches urban poverty, development and contemporary Indian politics. He has been an active member of social movements on a range of issues. He is Sexualities Series editor at Yoda Press, and co-editor of Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India (Yoda Press: 2005). His writing has featured in many Indian newspapers, Caravan, India Today, Tehelka. He writes on Kafila. He is also a member of Nigah, a queer collective based in Delhi.