15 October 2016

Reflections on the residency - Debashree Bhattacharya, participant

Fragments of thoughts......

The breathing body, the kathak body, form, shape, concepts, grammar, technique, re-visiting,  addressing questioning, counter-questions, queries, answers, contradictions…
Books, dance education, history, evolution, discussions, brain storming sessions, contemporary dance, modern dance, video clippings, brilliant choreographers and performers, improvisational exercises, William Forsythe, Amanda Miller, 9-point system ................. all these and many more baffled my mind as I journeyed through the 10 day workshop conducted by Vikram Iyengar and Anika Bendel.

26 September 2016

Samila Bhattacharya writes on the ongoing residency with Anika Bendel and Vikram Iyengar

Response to Days 6 and 7 - Samila Bhattacharya, participant

Yes!!  We have completed the 7th day of the workshop and only 3 days left.

I am enlightened by the whole experience.
For me each day ended up with new understanding of dance in particular and art as a whole and we are still exploring.
I achieved a new perception of  'why, how and what' is there behind the making of the designs and patterns through two methods of improvisation. (William Forsythe and Amanda Miller).
Analytical discussions, conceptual contradictions, theoretical evaluations on different topics have enriched me and my ability to question and look for an answer.

22 September 2016

Sohini Debnath on the ongoing Imagining Improvisations residency at Ranan

Response to Days 3 to 5 - Sohini Debnath, participant

Sohini with Anika, as Shoma looks on
The last three days have been enriching experience. Variety of thoughts and impulses. It is like understanding any subject. One needs the first few days to get to the point and for a workshop of such nature this process is interesting as well as confusing specially during the initial sessions.

18 September 2016


Life is all about the people we meet and the things we create with them  
15 September was the first day we met Anika. We were blessed to have Rani Aunty (RANI KARNAA) with us. We had a long discussion regarding contemporary dance theory and history, research, issues, dancing skills, methods.

Rhea Dawn writes on the first two days of the IMAGINING IMPROVISATIONS residency at Ranan. Click here to read what she has to say, and more on the residency. 

02 April 2016

Adda with Sunandini Banerjee on 6 March 2016 - an audience response.

In this note, adda participant Lav Kanoi writes about the multiple roles that Sunandini Banerjee performs at Seagull, and also about the extraordinary work and work-environment that Seagull provides for its remarkable employees to do remarkable things.

On 6 March 2016, down a nondescript lane in southern Kolkata, Sunandini Banerjee held adda with regulars and irregulars at Ranan. Sunandini is a publishing professional at Seagull Books where she dons two different hats: an editor’s and a designer’s. Accordingly, our adda that evening revolved around those two twin stars of her life in books. She began with a statement on the editing side of things, pointing out how copyediting is a self-effacing exercise for it must not be evident that there was an editor between the reader and the text (or, perhaps more appropriately, between the writer and the text). But there are many different aspects to an editor’s life, and there exist editorial interventions that, if I may say so, thrive on drawing attention to itself.

A visible example of this is in Seagull Books’ recent publication, the first English translation of Anselm Kiefer’s Notebooks (Volume 1: 19998–99). Working on this text, Sunandini began her engagement as any good copyeditor should, checking for style and consistency, dotting the i's and crossing the t’s. But occasional lines and phrases kept calling out to her softly. The writer had been interlacing his work with references to a variety of texts—lines from novels, poems, scriptures, astronomical and astrological texts—and sometimes was or was not indicate these quotations typographically. Her curiosity piqued with these sudden shifts in his tone and register, Sunandini embarked upon a research project of sorts, annotating each of these with the appropriate source. Suddenly, from copy-editing the text, Sunandini was commenting on it. A scholar emerged forcefully from the scratchings of the copyeditor. Now, the copyeditor was facilitating the reading of a text not by being a transparent glass, rather by acting as a focal lens, directing the reader towards hidden meanings in the text.

Notwithstanding this interesting shift in roles, one may argue that such an intervention might deprive the alert reader of the pleasure of ‘discovering’ the work by himself or herself. 

I should draw my reader’s attention to the other delightfully visible aspect of Sunandini’s work: that of an illustrator and cover designer. Sunandini shared a splendid portfolio of her design work with us, which included covers of books, pages and illustrations for stories.

If editing requires a complete perusal of the text, design of this kind generally depends on a less lengthy engagement. Often, there is only a small brief that accompanies the assignment. Typically, for cover or book design, although the designer is allowed to build only a perfunctory relationship with the text under treatment, she must somehow distill the book into its cover. This is not to say that the entire text is powerfully compressed into a few compelling visuals (is that possible?). My point is that, in Sunandini’s case, the same person carries out a very different aspect of the production of the book. However, Sunandini’s remarkable dual-position at Seagull also gives her the opportunity of a more comprehensive visual engagement with occasional texts. In this respect, the publication of Victor Halfwit is as remarkable as the story itself. When the translation of this work was commissioned from Thomas Bernhard’s German original, the firm readied itself to publish a voluminous book. However, nobody at Seagull had seen the German original. So when Martin Chalmer’s translation arrived, they discovered that the story spread over all of two pages. So, the mad-hatters at Seagull transformed the story, quite literally, into an extraordinary graphic novel (if I may use the term) of two-hundred odd pages.

If in her copyediting role at Seagull, Sunandini must efface her self and her presence from the text, in her role as an illustrator, she must imprint her creative self on the text, and sometimes across different texts. 

I cannot express how delighted I was by the story of the work, and the transformation the work underwent at Seagull. I am also astounded by the kind of spirit that Seagull and its people display in their engagement with different kinds of texts. Indeed, it is a testament to the remarkable organization it is that Seagull facilitates the making of such work by supporting remarkable people do remarkable things.

05 February 2016

Samila Bhattacharya on Ranan's recent trip to Lebanon

A seven-member team from Ranan visited Lebanon between 25 and 30 January 2016 to perform our production Shunya Se. This was at the invitation of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and hosted by the Indian Mission in Lebanon.

Samila taking in the views outside the Jeitta Grotto Limestone Caves

Samila Bhattacharya
Ranan repertory member

04 February 2016

A week in Lebanon: Rhea Dawn writes on our recent visit

A seven-member team from Ranan visited Lebanon between 25 and 30 January 2016 to perform our production Shunya Se. This was at the invitation of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and hosted by the Indian Mission in Lebanon. 

নিজের দেশ থেকে নাচতে বিদেশ যাওয়া আমাদের কাছে নুতন কিছু না, কিন্তু দেশটা যদি হয় লেবানন !!! তাই উত্তেজনায় টগবগ করে ফোটা যাকে বলা , তাই হচ্ছিল | মনে মনে অনেক আগেই চলে গিয়েছিলাম সেখানে | আরো একটা কারণ ছিল বটে উত্তেজনার , বিদেশের কর্মসংস্কৃতি আর নিয়মানুবর্তিতা চেখে দেখার স্বাদ | কদিনের গতানুগতিকতা থেকে মুক্তির স্বাদ | 
Rhea Dawn at the ruins of the
Cusader's Castle at Byblos, Lebanon

কথায় নিজেকে জাহির করায়  খুব একটা পটু আমি কোনদিনই নয়| আমার কল্পনা পাখা মেলে ওড়ে, আর আমিও তার সঙ্গে পাল্লা দিয়ে ছুটি | নাচের মাধ্যমে আমার অনুভূতিগুলো প্রকাশ পায় বলে মনে  হয়আর তাই নাচার জন্য বিদেশযাত্রা আমার কাছে কল্পনার সঙ্গে বাস্তবের মেলবন্ধন | 

সাতদিনের সফর আমার কাছে সাতটা মুহূর্তের মত শেষ হয়ে গেল | Casino-du-Liban, Tripoli তে Safadi Cultural Centre ,আর UNESCO Palace আমাদের অনুষ্ঠান ছিল | কাজের ফাঁকে ফাঁকে ছুটে গেলাম সুনীল ভূমধ্যসাগর তীরে , কখনও বা প্রাচীণ সভ্যতার ধ্বংসাবশেষের মাঝে পূরাণোকে ছুঁয়ে দেখতে | চলতে লাগলো সবাই মিলে একসঙ্গে হাঁটা ,অসংলগ্ন বকবকানি ,খুশীতে ফেটে পড়া ,আবার খুঁটিনাটি নিয়ে মনকষাকষিতে একলা পথ চলা | যাওয়া-আসা নিয়ে এই সাতদিন আজ আমার কাছে খুব জীবন্ত |

Rhea Dawn