The moment - round and full 
- Aniruddh Vasudevan, Chennai 
Photos: Lalitha Venkat 

December 9, 2004

That good art refuses to be pinned down by our definitions was demonstrated in two consecutive days at The Park’s The Other Festival. Though day four’s Sumida River has been reviewed separately, I cannot help recalling it here, though in an entirely different context. Day five had Constanza Macras and her dance company Dorky Park from Germany presenting “Back to the Present.” In total contrast to the previous day’s meditative sublimity, this two hour long production was characterised by absolute frenzy of movement, speech and music. Yet while assessing such different works of art, one has to steer clear of naïve comparisons and essentialisms. Adhbuta was evoked by the fact that two brilliant works of art, of entirely different natures and energies, could elicit responses of great intensity. 

Being able to invoke the past through memories and material souvenirs is, in fact, a luxury; a cushion against the edgy nature of the “presentness” of the present; a cautious shrinking away from encountering the moment. “Back to the Present” portrayed the predicament of a few individuals caught in moments where they neither have the luxury of cocooning themselves in the past nor the escape of dreaming the future. The present need not even be an optionless exigency. The present is all that one is left with when one does not want to deal with either the past or the future. The situations depicted ranged from handling a crisis in a relationship to those similar to TV casting-shows; situations that call for “an absolute presence of mind in the here and now” as the program notes say.  

With elaborate stage sets and props, the dancers, musicians and actors of Dorky Park managed brilliantly to communicate the sense of being “in the moment,” responding to it, winning over it, getting victimized by it. They finally did relieve everyone of the tension of being “there” by asking us to savour each moment. For, they said, “Kal ho na ho!”  
Aniruddh Vasudevan is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai.