There were various layers to the residency program. Finding a rhythm of our own was one of them. Following a tone to its core and allowing my body to follow that tone was new for me.
Being a trained Kathak dancer, there was no room for error, it was always what it was. I had a habit of being in a straight posture.
It started with simply following the tunes of music. The music ranged from different genres, but the idea was to just follow the rhythm. After the body became familiar with following the rhythms, it was the gaze that was introduced. I had to keep my gaze following a movement. It was more about getting a hold of the gaze. Making sure I knew where I was looking at. Various music genres were explored. And furthermore, based on the insights of our facilitator, more iterations became possible such as exploring different levels my body could move.
It was also about finding a constant to dance with respect to. Whether it was a moving body or a static body, how did it impact my gaze and my overall body posture was a significant exploration to learn about. Looking into someone’s eyes while performing contributed hugely to how my body was responding to the rest of the world. Moving around a static body in a particular posture contributed differently. I can say that I felt I was not performing in a safe space, rather I did have objects to play with, to which my body could respond differently each time.
Whether it was following a rhythm to find our own rhythm, or creating our own unique rhythm, we explored another dimension here. All four of us, and our facilitator created our own rhythms using different and unique instruments, each with their own significance even when played together. Whether it was ghunghroo (musical anklet bells), dafli (handheld bass), or even bamboo with seeds, each had its own strong sound that contributed when played.
We all got to explore all of these instruments turn-wise, creating and exploring different jugalbandi (two art forms being tied together) altogether. Various iterations were incorporated as instructed by our facilitator, wherein one stopped and the other began, or one initiated the process and the others followed, and many more.
Furthermore, I felt that the moment I started to play an instrument, I used to connect it to another rhythm being produced by one of my Co-participants. And if that person stopped, something did mess up each time. It was about having a hold of the rhythm I discovered and produced constantly. When everyone played together, it became important for me, that whichever instrument I was playing had a voice in the entire jugalbandi that was being created. Based on this, whether I wanted to keep the sound being produced by me constantly, or whether I wanted to increase or decrease its contributed sound was interesting to explore.
In my opinion, it was one of the most significant explorations of the offline phase that I experienced. I explored my body movements responding to different rhythms as well as I was able to contribute to a unique rhythm altogether.