Fans of contemporary South Asian dance are richly served this month. Last week saw Mayuri Boonham's sculptural dance installation Erhebung in Bethnal Green; next week Akram Khan makes a welcome return to Sadler's Wells; and on Tuesday there's a chance for lovers of screen dance to enjoy the London premier of short dance film The Art Of Defining Me at Rich Mix.
The film, which was first shown at Bournemouth South Asian Dance Summit last month, highlights how identity has become a commodity in our society and takes a humorous look at how we are influenced by the expectations and definitions placed upon us by others. Filmed by cinematographer Maria Åkesson, The Art Of Defining Me marks the directorial debuts of dancemakers Kamala Devam and Seeta Patel.
About a year ago over a coffee and cake, we exchanged stories about some of the ridiculous and tragic things we had experienced during our careers in the field of South Asian dance,” says Patel. "We decided to talk to other artists in the field and realised ours weren’t the only misadventures out there. Knowing we were also complicit in these experiences, we wanted to explore the concept in different ways.
We are really excited to launch our film in London after the response we received at our premiere in Bournemouth," adds Devam. "We hope that along with making people laugh, it will incite discussion about expectations, why they're there and what to do about them.
Newcomers to film, both Devam and Patel have extensive performing careers in both traditional and contemporary classical Indian dance; between them, the pair have worked with artists including Mavin Khoo, Shobana Jeyasingh, Akram Khan and Lloyd Newson's DV8 Dance Theatre. The Rich Mix screening will be followed by a discussion with the artists; check out the tantalisingly brief trailer here!
The Art Of Defining Me is at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road E1 6LA on Tuesday 11 June at 7pm (doors open 6.45pm). Tickets £5.