Jayachandran Palazhy

Jay is the Artistic Director of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, a pioneer in contemporary dance education in India, offering study programmes, research modules and career opportunities in movement arts. Jay’s travel from Bangalore, India to Yohohama, Japan in February 2020 to partake in the Asia Network for Dance (AND+) meeting, TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting, Yokohama Dance Collection and Hot Pot performances, discussions and events was supported by the Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

During my trip, I attended the AND+ closed meetings and moderated and led a workshop on the subject “Defining Expectations in Residency Contexts” as part of the events curated by AND+ in partnership with TPAM and Yokohama Dance Collection. The gathering of artists and professionals working in dance from across the word, particularly from Asia offered me a great opportunity to network and initiate projects. This was particularly useful as I am preparing for the next edition of Attakkalari India Biennial (February 2021) and the AND+ meeting during the Biennial. Of course, the format of the Biennial has to be arrived at due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions and government regulations. I also could see some good performances, meet interesting artists as well as directors of festival and arts organisations. I am interested to pursue some of those works and work with some artists as well as organisations to develop collaborative projects.

As Artistic Director and choreographer, this trip was inspirational and at times taxing. I had long days, but most of it was very fruitful. Meeting and discussing issues and concerns facing artists, professionals and organisations brought clarity to my thinking. I think there is a lot of similarity in the problems we face in different parts of Asia and we could indeed learn from each other’s experiences.

There were many opportunities for me to reflect on my own work and other activities in Bangalore, as the distance gave me an objectivity while the stimulus of performances or conversations triggered the thoughts.

International artists and arts professionals who will visit Bangalore for the Attakkalari India Biennial -either in person or through digital medium because of the changed scenario – that came out of my trip to Japan will surely have an impact on the scene in Bangalore and India in general. Their presence will bring new ideas and approaches to the local scene. Also the collaborative projects that I am initiating will have an impact on the artistic practices of many individual artists in Bangalore and India.

A gathering like this stimulates thoughts and ideas in you and they often linger on with you and get crystalized in due course. I am planning to initiate a collaborative production with artists from Japan and India. …The collaborative projects that I am initiating will have an impact on the artistic practices of many individual artists in Bangalore and India.

What are some of the most interesting lessons you have learned during your visit?

I felt, among Asian artists and arts professionals a wider and deeper awareness about Asian performing arts scene is somewhat lacking. I realized for sure that I do not know enough about the Asian dance scene as much as I do know about the European scene. Participating in TPAM was very valuable and it helped to enhance my understanding about the Asian dance scene and the concerns and issues facing artists. I hope to continue to improve my understanding and knowledge about the dance activities and issues we are faced with in Asia.

The corona virus outbreak indeed posed few problems in travel. I had to cancel my earlier plan to travel to Yokohama via Hong Kong and I had to re-route it through Bangkok instead at the last moment. Being part of Asia Network for Dance and attending the meetings as well as being part of the plenary sessions and workshops with my colleagues in the network were indeed very helpful in enhancing my knowledge and understanding about the dance scene in Asia. For me, as I am based in India where access to funding is so tough and this scarcity of funding options to initiate projects among artists is a particularly difficult problem, which is now further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am planning to initiate a collaborative production with artists from Japan and India. I am also part of a project involving artists form Italy, Singapore, Korea, India,  and Hong Kong and Macao in China. I can see few challenges cropping up in weaving these and other projects leading up to the next edition of Attakkalari India Biennial. I am determined to do my best to overcome them in whatever way I can and move forward.

What professional & personal objectives did you achieve in this activity?

Personally, I wanted to acquaint myself with the changing scenes in Asia which would help me to position myself firmly in the performing arts scene in Asia. I also wanted to meet some of my artist friends with whom I had worked in 2006. It was lovely to have some time with them, especially when Attakkalari is planning to set up a Centre for Innovation in Performing Arts (CIPA) in Bangalore soon. A gathering like this stimulates thoughts and ideas in you and they often linger on with you and get crystalized in due course. This is truly valuable for anybody working in the arts. I would like to sincerely thank ASEF and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for extending this travel support to me without which I would not have made this trip. 

Jay at the AND+ workshop at TPAM, Yokohama, Japan (Photo by Hideto Maezawa, credit to AND+)
AND+ workshop at TPAM, Yokohama, Japan (Photo by Hideto Maezawa, credit to AND+)

The Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still on-going!