BMW Guggenheim Lab has finally arrived in Mumbai. After having travelled through New York City and Berlin, this will be the last stop in its first of many three-city expeditions. The Lab primarily deals with, and endeavours to improve, the profound relationships between the individual, the community and the urban environment that house them. To herald their entry to the city, they are about to unveil seven weeks of revelry which brings these three entities together like never before. Helping them bring this celebration to life is Aanchal Gupta, the proprietor of dance studio Arts in Motion.
A word of caution — continuing to read this article might make you step out armed with spoons, sticks, buckets and miscellaneous other noisy objects. You have been warned!
Split into three parts this festival of dance, music, and celebration kickstarts on Wednesday at 5.30 pm and will continue at various venues (see box) for the next seven weeks. The first part is Drum and Dance, an outdoor drum circle that promises to be quite unlike anything the city has seen before. Speaking about the event Gupta says, “A drum circle is usually restricted to a studio or a closed room where multiple drummers come together and perform simultaneously.
This is the first time that it will be conducted on such a scale.” The “scale” which Gupta is referring to encompasses the 40 drum students of Art in Motion, and nearly 20,000 people invited from Institute’s own database of active participants. Add to that the fact that anyone who wishes to join in can participate at the venue, Horniman Circle, on the day of the event, and the sheer potential of this sonic conglomeration is visibly massive.
“The facilitators of the event will be Taufiq Qureshi’s team from his World Academy of Rhythm. The crowd will be split into several groups where each group will be familiarised to an extremely simple set of beats or taal. After which all the sounds will be brought together. The energy surrounding such an event needs to be seen to be believed. There is no preparation or expertise required. Just bring along whatever you want to use as an instrument — spoons, plates, your guitar, anything,” adds Gupta.
The second part will be a flash mob. And although the concept of a dancing mob has been exploited to no end, this one promises to hold a rather unique appeal of its own. Explaining the inimitable nature of the mob dance, Gupta explains, “This will be a flash mob that will take place to the tune of live music.
And not just any live music. We are talking about the rumble of not one or two but eight dhols. The sound and energy will be immense, and unlike other mobs organised in the city, there will be no overriding theme like Bollywood or anything. Just a lot of dancing, a lot of energy and a lot of joy.”
The choreography for this event will obviously require a bit of training, and preparations are already under way. However, participation is not exclusive and all you need to do is make a call to the Arts in Motion guys and they will tell you a time and a place where you can join them to train. The choreography is being overseen by Henry Stevens, a man with nearly 20 years of experience in professional dancing and is also Gupta’s mentor.
The last of the three events will be a Mumbai parade, which will be a walk featuring artwork, posters and the participants of the other two events, all in tow. They will walk along some of the most iconic walkways in the city, including the Bandra Skywalk and Bandra’s pipelines.
If ever there was a way for Mumbai’s residents to creatively stake claim to the city, and build a moment for all to share, then this seems to be it. Although make sure you wash your plates and spoons once you are done.