Catch a performance by 9 dancers who were confined to a Kamshet farmhouse

Updated: 29 November, 2017 10:16 IST | Shraddha Uchil | Mumbai

Catch the refined version of an edgy dance performance that was born out of locking up nine dancers in a farmhouse for a month

It all started with an experiment. One that confined nine dancers to a farmhouse in Kamshet, cut off from the rest of the world. The result of this experiment was The Kamshet Project, a performance that weaves together contemporary dance with physical theatre in an attempt to explore the dark side of human nature. This weekend at NCPA's Contemporary Dance Season, after months of practice, the dancers will present version 2.0 of the performance.

Unleashing the animal within

"We did the experiment earlier this year. Its aim was to get the dancers to understand who they really are. The first time the piece was performed, it was very raw, but this time, it's far more refined," says Terence Lewis, who conceptualised and directed the piece. He shares, "The first step involved getting each of the dancers to pick a new name for themselves. They had to call each other by these new names, and soon, the duality started to kick in."

The dancers were mentored by David Zambrano (extreme right), who trained  them in the Flying  Low dance techniqueThe dancers were mentored by David Zambrano (extreme right), who trained them in the Flying Low dance technique

When each individual's baser instincts began to reveal themselves, it was time to raise things up a notch. "These emotions, which they started displaying after a few days of confinement, were nothing but their animal instincts. At this point, I asked them to pick what they thought was their spirit animal, and take on the personality of that creature to express themselves." While one dancer picked a majestic, arrogant tiger, another picked a playful ape, and so on, until each knew what animal their moves would be inspired by.

Terence Lewis

The third and final step was to get all the dancers to share memories — of pleasure and pain — from their lives. "These experiences had to be shared anonymously every morning, and would be read out later in the day by everyone. No one knew whose memory they were narrating, but it helped them connect on a deeper level, and form a stronger bond," says Lewis.

Finally, having drawn out aspects of their personalities that they didn't even know existed, the piece began to take shape. Now, it was a matter of being able to replicate the honesty and rawness that accompanied the first performance. "It isn't easy. They have to go back into that animalistic state of mind for one and a half hours on stage, and then snap out of it," explains Terence. He adds, "If you think this is going to be a big, Bollywood-style production with loud costumes and elaborate sets, you're far from right. The piece is as minimalistic as it gets."

On : December 1, 7 pm onwards
At : Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point. LOG ON TO
Entry : Rs200 to Rs500

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First Published: 29 November, 2017 10:15 IST

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