London Lift Off Global Film Festival 2020- ‘A Meeting of Cultures’ nominated in the Official Selection!

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who have been involved ! Sharing another official selection for our film this year!!

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who have been involved in ‘A Meeting of Cultures’! Sharing another official selection for our film this year-the London Lift-Off Festival 2020! With everything shifting online, the entire festival is now available to watch on Vimeo on demand. The festival has launched on 1 December and will run for the entire month. You can watch a huge variety of independent films and also vote for two of your favourite films. This is a new experience for the entire team and we will be very happy to have your support in this exciting journey!! We are in the New Voice Features Category!!

Tickets are now available for purchase here:

We are in the New Voice Features Category!! The link below is the direct checkout page:

New Voice Features: London Lift-Off Film Festival 2020 » Powered by ThriveCart

About ‘A Meeting of Cultures’-The inspiring dance story of Anna Pavlova and Uday Shankar and its lasting influence

Duration-52:52, Completed on January 2020

Film by Protima Chatterjee/Editor: Roger Kitchen/Creative Producer: Piali Ray, O.B.E

The documentary film tells the story of this first of a kind dance partnership through the eyes of the BA2 dance students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and dance. Contemporary dance has been shaped by multiple dance forms and cultural influences-this film explores one such influence through the collaboration between Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova and the pioneer of modern Indian dancer Uday Shankar in the early 20th century.

The story explores the current relevance of this iconic collaboration and how this is an inspiration to today’s diverse cultural scene in the UK. With oral histories recorded from academics, historians, dance artists, choreographers and film makers, young dancers from Trinity Laban unfold the first artistic connections between UK and India, western ballet and contemporary dance and the birth of a new dance legacy. The film also showcases rare archival footage of historical value.

Screening of ‘A Meeting of Cultures’ and panel discussion at The Festival of Ideas – SOAS university of London, South Asian Institute- 22 October 2020

Date: 22 October 2020Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 22 October 2020Time: 11:00 AM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Film Screening

FILM SCREENING, TALK & DISCUSSION

This UK premiere of the documentary film (English language 52 minutes) produced by Abundant Art explores the iconic collaboration in 1923 at the Royal Opera House in London between Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova and the then-unknown Indian painter turned dancer Uday Shankar, who later goes on to become an international star.

Abstract:

A Meeting of Cultures is written and directed by Protima Chatterjee, the founder of Abundant Art and edited by Roger Kitchen; Piali Ray OBE, Director of Sampad Arts and Heritage, is the Creative Advisor and project mentor. The film is based on the iconic collaboration in 1923 at the Royal Opera House in London between Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova and the then-unknown Indian painter turned dancer Uday Shankar, who later goes on to become an international star. It explores the current relevance of this historic collaboration and how it remains an inspiration to the diverse cultural scene in the UK.

This inspirational story is told from the vantage point of students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The film is about their journey of discovery as part of their BA2 historical project of one of the first artistic connections between the UK and India, classical and contemporary dance and the birth of a new legacy. The film includes rare archival material and interviews with students, academics, historians, choreographers, film experts, Shankar’s family, and artists like Akram Khan, Mark Baldwin and upcoming south-Asian talents like Vidya Patel who speak about the current relevance of this iconic collaboration and their association with the heritage. Through its storytelling ‘A Meeting of Cultures’ uncovers the cross-cultural influences in the contemporary cultural scene. The film is a part of a heritage project launched in 2018 and is supported by the National Heritage Lottery, Trinity Laban, Sampad Arts and Heritage and Roehampton University.

Abundant Art Portal will make the film available for SOAS students with an ID for access, for the next 6 months from 22 October following the Festival of Ideas screening at no additional cost.

Panel Discussants:

Chair and Discussant: Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SOAS South Asia Institute)
Protima Chatterjee is the Founder of Abundant Art (2014), an online Artzine that delivers conceptual Arts and Cultural heritage programmes. She is the Director of the Uday Shankar Anna Pavlova Heritage Project; trained in the Uday Shankar style of dance from a very young age with the Uday Shankar India Culture Centre and the Ananda Shankar Centre for Performing Arts.
Piali Ray OBE – Director of Sampad Arts and Heritage, Birmingham; Alumna of Uday Shankar India Culture Centre.
Bisakha Sarker MBE — Artistic Director of Chaturangan, Liverpool; Alumna of Uday Shankar India Culture Centre.
Rakesh Sengupta, PhD program, School of Languages (SOAS)
*****

This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas, a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

Keep updated on the upcoming Virtual Festival of Ideas events and watch recordings of previous events on the SOAS website. Please contact foi@Soas.ac.uk with any questions regarding this event and/or the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas.

Please support SOAS Festival of Ideas by donating to our crowdfunding campaign at https://soas.hubbub.net/p/SOASFestivalofIdeas/. All proceeds go to supporting the speakers, performers, and artists involved.

Click here to register

Organiser: SOAS Festival of Ideas, SOAS South Asia Institute
Contact email: foi@soas.ac.uk

Uday Shankar and Anna Pavlova; A heritage project by Abundant Art UK

Delighted to share the news! Our film ‘Meeting of Cultures’ has been selected for the Chicago Indie Film Awards 2020! After the cancellation of our premiere at the Victoria and Albert Museum and showcases at other venues earlier this year, this news is immensely uplifting. Never mind the cancellation heartbreaks, this selection propels us to more creativity moving forward. With Abundant Art – Art, Culture and Heritage Sampad Arts National Lottery Heritage Fund  Trinity Laban Tanusree Shankar @PialiRay

A Meeting of Cultures: An inspiring dance story of Anna Pavlova and Uday Shankar and its lasting influence

A key output of our project is a 50 min documentary film that tells the story of this first of a kind dance partnership through the eyes of BA 2 dance students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and dance. Through this story we explore how contemporary dance in UK today have been shaped by diverse cultural dance influences.

About the film :

The first performance of Anna Pavlova and Uday Shankar’s collaboration took place at the ROH in 1923 and this is where the story begins. The story is woven through the research and discoveries of the BA2 students of Laban who are a major part of the film. We follow two parallel storylines. One charts the story from the meeting between prima ballerina Anna Pavlova and the then unknown fine arts student at the Royal college of Art, Uday Shankar (elder brother of Ravi Shankar) to the flowering of the latter’s genius and the intense interactions with dancers and artists in the UK and other parts of the world. This ultimately leads to the birth of the first Indian contemporary dance through the distillation of different Indian dance forms and UK influences. The second storyline is the journey of contemporary dance students of Trinity Laban and their gradual discovery of this story as part of their dance heritage (BA2 Historical project – Dance Legends of the 20th century). The film culminates with the students restaging Uday Shankar’s iconic choreography “ Kartikeya”  at the Bonny Bird Theatre at Trinity Laban.

The film is about how they unfold the first artistic connections between UK and India, ballet and contemporary dance and the birth of a new dance legacy through their research and technique learning and restaging rehearsals.

The story also explores the current relevance of this collaboration and how this is an inspiration to the current diverse cultural scene in the UK. We have had the opportunity to interview academics, dance practitioners, historians, curators Shankar’s family members and artists like Akram Khan, Mark Baldwin and upcoming south-Asian talents like Vidya Patel who speak about the current relevance of this iconic collaboration and their association with the heritage.  

We recently launched the film in India with screenings in Kolkata and Mumbai at the NCPA.

Upcoming Screenings

Venue: 

Victoria and Albert Museum

Date: 25 April 2020

Time: 03.00 p.m.

More details coming soon!

Past Screenings

Yule Hall at the Tollygunge Club, Kolkata, India 27 Dec 2019 6.30 pm

National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, India, 12 Dec 2019 03.00 p.m.

Nandan, Kolkata, India, 09 Dec 2019 06.30p.m.

Our Screening Partner:

Reviews:

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/uday-shankar-anna-pavlova-protima-chatterjee-meeting-of-two-cultures-documentry-6205211/

Mill Hill County High School Participates in this Heritage Project

Our Heritage project visits Mill Hill County High School. Workshop with the talented and enthusiastic GCSE students of dance-Some practical technique class and discussion on the topic. Sharing the heritage story that creatively connects cultures, communities and inspires innovation-the collaboration of Uday Shankar and Anna Pavlova. Rediscovering, researching, sharing and informing the communities and the younger generation. Thank you Tania Chatterji for volunteering on the day and sharing your experience of learning about the heritage. Thank you Mill Hill County High School for inviting us. Special thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund.
 

Oral History training session

Moving forward with the project we are working on capturing oral histories-the told-untold, written and unwritten stories. Equipping young people and the community to tap into living memories and archives to preserve our heritage. Memories and perspectives will weave into a documentary film that will take this heritage story to the communities and the generations after us. Special thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund and the heritage lottery players. Thanks to The British Library for kindly providing the venue for the training and the Oral History Training for partnering with us in this session.

Challney Girls High School participates in this heritage project.

Our Heritage project visits Challney Girls High School. Workshop with the talented and enthusiastic GCSE students of dance-Some practical technique class and discussion on the topic. Sharing the #heritage story that creatively connects cultures, communities and inspires innovation-the collaboration of #UdayShankar #AnnaPavlova. Rediscovering, researching, sharing and informing the communities and the younger generation. Thank you Lewis Sharp for volunteering on the day and sharing your experience of learning about the heritage. Thank you Challney Girls School for inviting us. Special thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund.

Uday Shankar’s Choreography ‘Kartikeya’ restaged by students of Trinity Laban (BA2 Historical Project)-the first milestone of our Heritage Project

Uday Shankar’s Choreography ‘Kartikeya’ restaged by students of Trinity Laban (BA2 Historical Project)-the first milestone of our Heritage Project

We are overwhelmed to start our yearlong heritage project on Uday Shankar and Anna Pavlova with the BA2 Historical project at Trinity Laban. A 4 weeks intensive programme on Uday Shankar, where the students learnt the Shankar Technique and the repertory ‘Sacred Myths’ that they restaged at the end of the course included Shankar’s choreography Kartikeya, from the late 1930’s. A proud moment for our project to bring to life Karyikeya for the first time in the UK with the students of Trinity Laban.

This year alongside the works of Hose Limon, Merce Cunningham and Wayne McGregor, Uday Shankar was included in the programme.

The Uday Shankar segment of the historical project was delivered by Abundant Art as part of this Heritage project supported by The Heritage Lottery fund. Technique classes and restaging rehearsal taught by Tanusree Shankar and Protima Chatterjee. Theory lectures delivered by Tanusree Shankar, Piali Ray and Protima Chatterjee

During the Historical Project, each Year 2 student on the BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance programme is immersed in an intensive period of dance training and study which focuses on work created by a choreographer who has made an important contribution to the development of dance in the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as being involved in the restaging of the choreography, students learn about the historical, social, artistic and cultural contexts in which the work was originally created. In addition, students participate in technique classes and theory classes which are designed to equip them with the technical skills and artistic understanding necessary to meet the demands of the piece. The result is a learning experience which integrates theory and practice, and which exposes students both physically and intellectually to dance works of historical and cultural significance.

The Historical Project component at trinity Laban introduces their BA2 students to some of the well-known and established repertoire from the 20th century modern/contemporary dance. In this programme students gain a direct and practical experience of selected choreographer’s work through intensive rehearsals and performance of repertory extracts. The rehearsal directors teach the material to the group, decide the casting and coach students towards the performance. With organised technical rehearsals in the Laban Theatre students showcase the repertory piece they learn over the course of 4 weeks in 4 public performances across two days. The performance of the repertory is the final assessment of the practical aspect of this component.

During this period, theoretical sessions are provided with contextual and conceptual background necessary for an integrated understanding of the choreographer and work they are studying. As part of this learning process students are encouraged to reflect on their own experience of the historical repertory, and the ways it contributes to their understanding of the work and its historical and contemporary significance.  Material covered in Investigating Arts Practice also support their work in this aspect of the component. Individual Lecture Demonstrations after the performance is the assessment for this aspect of the component.

Sacred Myths

Kartikeya, Himalaya and Apsara

3 segments restaged  in the historical production.

The first piece is Kartikeya which was originally choreographed by Uday Shankar in the early 1940s. This dance was incorporated in his film Kalpana in 1948. References of the Dance can be seen in the film Kalpana (some links on you tube) where Uday Shankar performs this piece with his group of dancers.

The second and third segment are choreographies that are based on Uday Shankar’s Technique with reference to movements created by Uday Shankar. These pieces are choreographed by Tanusree Shankar and restaged with students of Laban by Tanusree Shankar and Protima Chatterjee.

Karthikeya

In Hindu mythology Kartikeya is the God of War.  The Devas(Gods) are in retreat against the predatory force of the Asuras.  It is for protection from the Asuras (personification of evil and greed) that Karthikeya is born.  He is the promised son of Shiva who is born to defeat the Asuras and restore the cosmic balance.  He is fierce and masculine- symbol of martial power and authority. Shankar takes the essence of this warlike god as we see in this dance. It is masculine and powerful which can be performed by both male and female dancers as seen in the popular version performed by him and his group in Kalpana. This composition captures the inner power in us to fight against evil and be triumphant. Fearlessness, valour, courage, positive energy and power put together makes Kartikeya, the epic dance piece that resonates with generations.

Himalaya

Indian mythology confers sacredness to the Himalayas where the Gods reside. Himalaya is also personified as the father of Parvati who gives her in marriage to Shiva. This union leads to the birth of Karthikeya who saves the world. Himalaya is strong yet tranquil. He bestows and sustains life through his waters and forests

The majestic Himalayas, holds a very special place in the sacred geography of Indian imagination. It is the source of the life-giving rivers of the sub-continent and is the space for practicing spirituality for millennia.

In this dance we imagine the Himalayas dancing in spiritual ecstasy. The dance opens with the setting sun and the rhythms of dusk. As the moon rises the Himalayas dance to the moonlight. It’s like the mountain range comes to life at night. There is twinkling moonlight broken occasionally by thunder or lightning.  Whether it is calm or unsettled, the Himalayas dance through till the break of dawn and goes back to deep contemplation. It is day and the sparkling rivers flow, the birds sing and everything is serene. This composition shows two aspects of the mind-reposeful meditation and playful expression which balances life.

Apsara

This dance evokes the celestial dancers-the Apsaras, who perform for the gods. Celebrating the triumph of the Devas over the Asuras, this piece symbolises victory of the human mind over fear and material desire.

The cave paintings, temple carvings and statues of Apsaras and dancing figures found throughout India were always a source of inspiration for Uday Shankar. He used this material to create the base of his movements.  “Apsara” is a homage to this heritage. Its movements are taken from Shankar’s inspirations around motifs found in traditional Indian Art. This choreography beautifully demonstrates layers of movement gestures that are part of Uday Shankar’s repertoire.