I don’t view culture as a monolithic entity. Fluid, visible and sometimes tangible in the garb of language and and at others, detected in the grammar of day to day living. Creativity and its manifestation in music, theatre and dance are also informed by cultural influences. Recently, British Council, in its continued celebration of the UK /India, Year of Culture 2017, unveiled Mix the Body, an interactive digital experience across India. Created by Flying Object with world-renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor and Attakkalari Dance Company from India- MixTheBody allows the viewer to draw shapes on the screen, select specially created music-from electronic to cinematic-then ‘mix’ it together for a final pièce de résistance to share with the world! For those not in the know-Wayne McGregor is a prolific dance maker, and the first Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet to come from contemporary dance. He has delivered world premieres for international companies including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Australian Ballet, and choreographed movies (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and music videos (Radiohead’s Lotus Flower). In January 2011, McGregor was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List.
I was there at the launch and tried my hand at the platform to mix creativity with technology against the two cultures’ backdrop! Have a see of my effort!
In a tête-à-tête with The Insider, Alan Gemmell, OBE, Director India, British Council shared his excitement about the the launch of the third in the ‘Mix’ series for furthering cultural ties with India. ‘Digital is the future and the reach it has is phenomenal. In so far as the tangible result of the previous campaigns is concerned, then the overwhelming number of visits on the website is a heartening indicator of its reach. ‘Mix’ is the leitmotif that runs across the three digital platforms of cultural collaboration. Mix the Dance allows a world-class collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor and composers like Jon Hopkins and Max Richter.’ The success of the collaboration is also to be measured by the fact that one of the musicians on board for Mix the Body series, is a find from the earlier, Mix the City campaign.
The choice of contemporary dance to collaborate on as a cultural symphony is apt as it reaches out to the growing number of this dance form’s recent enthusiasts as well as aficionados. Also, in such a vast and diverse spread of India’s dance forms of equal charm, one can imaging how difficult it is to zero in on one. Gemmell however, admits that it’s a rich landscape in dance and the creative arts and shares that he was fascinated by the Bihu dance he recently saw in Assam.
This digitisation of a cultural aspect of exchange could well be the metaphor for the creative virtual world we inhabit. With a tick on Music, theatre and now dance as a motif, what could be next… The insider conjectures, Mix the Words? Watch this space!