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.
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.
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!”
Vasudevan is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai.