Masterclass with Preethi Athreya | 120 min
The Ground Beneath – A Series of Questions
The Jumping Project began as a quest to find the functional body over the performative one. My desire has been to create an environment that values the immediacy of action over artistic interpretation. I chose to explore the physicality of jumping for many reasons. Foremost among them is the paradox contained in the act of jumping – a primeval impulse to escape and reach for freedom, while at the same time an expression of inevitable fall, being bound by the forces of gravity. Jumping is also a physicality that is common to other bodily disciplines such as sport and martial arts, where the decorative element is stripped off to reveal a pure mechanics of the body. As actions, jumping and running affect the energy of the environment. You have only to make two people jump together to notice that they eventually fall into the rhythm and timing of one or the other. This quality of physical affect is something that I found profoundly moving – reminiscent of planets and their orbits. Where several elements are pulled into the pattern of an orbit until the very centre is affected and displaced. Dispersion, chaos, reorder. This masterclass is an open lab where participants find out more about the space within their bodies as much as their connection to the spaces around each other.
A Chennai-based contemporary dancer, Preethi Athreya trained in Bharatanatyam and later went on to do a postgraduate degree in Dance Studies (Laban Centre, London, 2001). Working within the Indian contemporary dance scene as a performer, choreographer and facilitator, Preethi’s approach is marked by a constant dialogue with form and possibilities of reframing content. Preethi is one of the co-founders of Basement 21, a practice-based performance collective in Chennai. Her creations are Kamakshi (2003) Inhabit (2006), Porcelain (2007) Pillar to Post (2007), Sweet Sorrow (2010), Light Doesn’t Have Arms to carry Us (2013), Anki Bunki Kata (2013), Across, Not Over (2014), Conditions of Carriage -The Jumping Project (2015). Co-produced by the India Foundation for the Arts (Bangalore, India), Prakriti Foundation (Chennai, India) and the Alliance Francaise of Madras, Preethi’s works have been invited to leading festivals in India such as Attakkalari, IGNITE! and the National School of Drama, as well as internationally at Szene Salzburg, Impulstanz – Vienna International Festival, Jogjakarta International Street Art Festival, Singapore International Festival of Arts and JOMBA festival of contemporary dance, Durban, South Africa. Preethi’s review of Belgian choreographer Michel Laub’s work, Total Masala Slammer, was published in the Dance Research Journal, New York, in 2004.