Nirmala  Seshadri

My artistic practice hinges on the mature body and its relationship with movement, expression, its history as well as the sociocultural milieux in which it is located. The overarching question that underpins my practice is: As a mature woman whose past was steeped in the learning, practice and performance of classical Indian dance, how can I now engage with Dance in ways that are authentic and empowering?

With my body’s academic writing as well as personal & performance history as springboards, I am working towards a retrospective in lecture-performance mode, whereby the mature female body examines desire, desirability, vulnerability, solidarity and its own reinvention in and through dance. I also seek to enter new phases of research and creation, focussing on the intersection of the ageing dancer's body with questions of caste, privilege and appropriation.

The Problematic Danseuse is a practice-research project that I embarked on in 2019, and that I aim to continue through 2020. The project sees my mature ageing body re-enter ‘process’ through revisiting its Bharatanatyam practice that was beleaguered with the hegemonic and patriarchal issues that surround the dance form. It investigates the body’s interaction with its own writing, its personal and performative past, its more recent engagement with notions of ‘dance’ and ‘choreography’, and with the socio-cultural milieux in which it currently exists. Carrying the bodily memories of Marginalisation and Censorship, the performing body is invited to re-emerge and present iteself in potentially new, diverse and empathetic ways.