Tara Catherine Pandeya is in the midst of final rehearsals for her one-woman show at the Forecast Festival, which draws upon traditional dances to address topical questions of alterity and exclusion. In Raqsistan, The Land of Dance: A Cartography of the Body, she aims to stage physically innovative responses to conflicts heightened in our contemporary era, asking: “What are effective ways to express traditional and ethno-contemporary movement in a postmodern framework? How can one execute a harmonious synthesis between dance and technology in performance work? Are we able to retain the imprint of our ancestral lineages through expression in the body?”
Pandeya’s performance piece features excerpts that she filmed in the Pamir Mountains, interactive film projections and costumes, live music, and spoken word. She employs a unique fusion of different media to present us with the familiar and the unfamiliar, the old and the new. Visitors to the Festival are invited to contribute to Pandeya’s vision, as their imaginations are shaped by the performance, and the previously unknown “Other” becomes known. Dance thus helps Pandeya to transcend seemingly impermeable boundaries, a process of transformation that the audience shares.
Speaking about her creative journey, Pandeya reflects. “The moments that I have had as part of the Forecast process have been fruitful. And I think the most fruitful were at the development stage with my mentor,” she says. “Of course it’s more intensive, it’s face to face, and it allows more time for ideas and exchange to kind of permeate and expand over a longer period.” This long period of creative development reaches its culmination at the Forecast Festival.
Photos: Daniel Bahmani, Jazmyne Geis