"Dance of the Weave" by Briana Blasko
"Blasko has been working on this project for five years. She moved to India four years ago to concentrate on it and is currently based in Delhi. “The field work is pretty much done now and I am in the process of putting the book together,” she said. Over this period, she travelled the country, sometimes staying with dancers, visiting dance schools and festivals to research the various forms of classical, folk and tribal dances. Simultaneously, she visited weaving villages… and private homes throughout Imphal and Majuli, documenting the costumes and textiles used by the dancers and observing how a dancer’s personal connection to the origin of the cloth they use is related to the origin of their dance form or not.
Another interesting image – since Indian dance photography traditionally focuses on abhinaya and movements – is that of a contemporary dancer in deep aubergine Kalakshetra cotton. While her face is not visible, the message of a cultivated shy seduction comes across without recourse to any expression or overt movement, through an effective use of the drape.
The emphasis is not so much on the textile tradition itself as on the relationship of the textile with the dancer – the manner in which it drapes and moves. Asked about the faltering tradition of the draped dance sari, Blasko commented, “I worked mostly with a lot of younger dancers and they tend to use stitched costumes more often than unstitched drapes for performances, while the older, more senior dancers tended to be more comfortable with draping techniques.”
Blasko carefully avoids making value judgments based on the gradual passing on of the unstitched drape in Indian dance traditions, but admits that she feels a pang when she anticipates its fluidity and grace fading from the dance scene in the foreseeable future. Still, she chooses to delight in the interplay of dance and fabric that lives on.”
- from Time Out New Delhi
Always love to see contemporary artists taking notice and being inspired by Indian Classical dance!