Solitude is an evening of contemporary dance solos. The dances, each dealing with solitary explorations of life, death, experience, and joy, are united by their approach to form and abstraction. This mixed bill is a means to accessing the solo form through contemporary dance. With both recorded performances and films, this show is a reflection of life as we currently know it, where boundaries between the physical and digital are blurring.

The artists began working on their independent projects at the beginning of 2020, and have adapted their processes to cater to the ongoing global situation. Although they work individually for the most part, collaboration and feedback are fundamental to each process. They have found that connecting and sharing, in person and online, have allowed them to sustain their creative practice and a meaningful sense of community.

The show premiered online on 28 November as part of Spaarkk 2020.

‘The Length of a Sneeze’ by Anishaa Tavag
The thing that really surprised me was that it [Earth] projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile.
– Michael Collins, Apollo 11

The Length of a Sneeze is a quest for the overview effect—the cognitive shift in awareness that astronauts have experienced upon glimpsing the Earth from outer space—in everyday life. It imagines familiar, mundane bodily experience as the portal to a parallel existence. Here, identity disappears and human activity is inseparable from the presence of the self in a vast space, given meaning by our perceptions. What happens to our relationship with the familiar when our perception of it is altered?

Choreography and performance: Anishaa Tavag
Cinematography, editing and sound design: Gaurav Krishna
Costume: Ragini Vijay
Location: Shoonya – Centre for Art and Somatic Practices and Hesaraghatta Lake
Produced with the support of Attakkalari Culture Port

‘Phantasies (excerpts)’ by Ainesh Madan
A pledge of allegiance to the eternal pursuit of happiness, Phantasies questions our understanding of ‘the underdog’ and their role in accepting, or refusing, the struggles that define our daily existence. The work is a complex, non-linear excavation of the potential that lies embedded within every living being.

The inspiration for the creation is Sigmund Freud’s text, ‘The Poet and Daydreaming’. In the text, Freud elucidates on the daydreams, or ‘phantasies’, that we have as adults, and compares them to the act of playing that we committed to as children. Poetry, or artistic expression, Freud argues, can provide a judicious method for expressing these often socially frowned upon dreams.

Choreography and performance: Ainesh Madan
Music: Ainesh Madan and Dean Sharp
Dramaturgy: Stephanie Saywell
Costume design: Agyesh Madan
Video: Aimeng Song
Lighting: Josh Foreman
Performed at LUMA Theater, Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College

‘For the Time Being’ by Joshua Sailo
For the Time Being is an introspection on how we fill the moments between life and death with stories that shape our identities and experiences. It is an invitation to notice the sensorial information that we receive from various sources as we switch from doing to being. Instinctively, we learn how to interact with people and our surroundings, and weave complex inter-connected narratives. This ongoing study is a search for ways to honour these experiences through the poetics of the body, expressing the feelings and sensation of the moment by surrendering to the ‘now’.

Choreography and performance: Joshua Sailo
Filming and editing: Matthew Sailo
Music: Gregory Harrison
ASMR sound: Grace Laldini
Technical assistance: Siama Sailo
Text: Excerpts from Mirrors by Eduardo Galeano
Prop master: Amelia Lalremdiki

‘The Dance Song’ by Dayita Nereyeth and Ainesh Madan
‘Lately I looked into your eyes, oh Life, and I seemed to sink into the unfathomable…’

Inspired by Nietzsche’s writing from the seminal work, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, The Dance Song delves into a prophet’s interpretation of Life and Wisdom as two, uncannily similar, women. The work abstracts, through movement, the humorous, melancholic song delivered by the protagonist of the text. Originally made for the stage, the work has been adapted for this experimental film.

Choreography: Ainesh Madan, supported by Dayita Nereyeth
Performance: Dayita Nereyeth
Film: Ainesh Madan and Dayita Nereyeth
Sound: Ainesh Madan
Costume: Desi and Sustainable Suz
Support: Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore and Media Art Design House
Developed and rehearsed at Shoonya – Centre for Art and Somatic Practices and Dhurii

0:10 The Length of a Sneeze
6:34 Phantasies (Excerpts)
21:39 For the Time Being
29:58 The Dance Song
42:17 Final Credits