Award-winning choreographer and educator Preeti Vasudevan (Spring ’16) is an exponent of Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance) creating new provocative contemporary works from the Indian tradition. Vasudevan is the first Indian choreographer to be invited as an Artist in Residence at Bill T Jones’s New York Live Arts, NY to research and develop a new commissioned work for 2017. Vasudevan, who is a Certified Movement Analyst, with a Masters in Dance from the Laban Centre, London is also the 2015 DPA (Dance Performance Award) winner from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies, NY. Original works performed by her company, Thresh, have earned international acclaim for their fresh juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary voices. As an educator, Vasudevan’s ground-breaking educational website, Dancing for the Gods has been developed to build a cultural bridge through creative Indian dance and used in NYC Public Schools.
Études – Mapping a classical encounter
Using Laban Motif notation to unpack the creative process as two classical languages combine
As a performer and choreographer with deep training in Bharatanatyam (South Indian Classical dance) Vasudevan intended to work with a first-rank ballet dancer to develop a series of movement studies (Etudes) deconstructing and re-combining specific elements of both forms. A solo performance showcased the best of the work: however both successes and failures were documented in detail using Laban Motif Notation, providing a unique resource for choreographers and dance scholars interested in the ways in which a new dance idiom can emerge from an open encounter between ballet and a non-Western classical form. This provided a window into the psychological, emotional and artistic journey of the collaborators—useful for both researchers and audience members as they approach the work in performance.