Grant Period: Over one year and four months
Kolkata Sanved is a pioneer in the field of dance and movement therapy in South Asia. Founded in 2004, it has been advancing theories and approaches relating to dance and movement therapy (DMT) and has been using it as a holistic tool for social transformation. While DMT is concerned mostly with clinical practice, Sanved has transformed it into a form of learning exchange where the participant, rather than being a ‘patient’ of dance therapy becomes a potential artistic practitioner. The grant will support Sanved to conduct creative workshops with children living on four railway platforms in West Bengal. Titled ‘Platform Beat’, the project will draw inspiration from the dramatic, rhythmic and free flowing yet vulnerable lives of these children. Sohini Chakraborty, Director of Kolkata Sanved, says, “The railway platform, in reality, is a collage of sounds, sights, verbal exchanges and movement—as is the theatre stage. And children living on the railway platforms experience an abundance of these sights, sounds and actions everyday.” By enabling an artistic exploration into their own lives, this project seeks not only to empower them to communicate their dreams, hopes, fears, and challenges, but also to transform some of them into arts practitioners or facilitators.
The workshops will bring together a range of art forms like storytelling, movement, music and theatre that allowed participants a broader palette of artistic experiences and skills. The children will be encouraged to bring out their own stories, create their own script, compose their own movements and music towards creating the final production. The Sanved team of six dancers will work with resource persons - Suman Mukhopadhyay, Tanmoy Bose and Dr Urmimala Sarkar - expertis in theatre, music and dance, respectively. Together they will conduct the workshops. The Platform Beat workshops will take place on four platforms around Kolkata—Sealdah, Asansol, Howrah and Baruipur. These workshops will take place in collaboration with four NGOs, located on these platforms. The staff of these organisations will be part of specific workshops, sharing sessions and will participate in the childrens’ creative process.
The immediate outcome of the sixteenth-month workshop will be site-specific performances on all four platforms. The audience for the final performance will be the general public, families of the children and other stakeholders such shopkeepers, police and staff of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the railway ministry. What the project aspires to do in the long run, however, is to empower the four organisations to emerge as community cultural centres. Not only will this enable them to carry their creative aspirations forward but also sustain the work beyond the life of the project.
This grant was made possible with support from Ashoke Dutt.