India is a country of tremendous artistic heritage, but there are very few Indian practitioners today with significant international exposure in the field of performing arts. This is certainly not for want of talented artists in the country, but is a direct result of there not being enough platforms for Indian artists to explore and hone their talents. Since our inception, we at the Prakriti Foundation have aspired to play a catalytic role in providing such a nurturing platform to artists in India.
We believe that contemporary dance is the new emerging form of expression, that weaves its own language and grammar in India. This needs to be recognized and mentored, thus enabling artists to achieve high levels of excellence. Hence, we have instituted the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards (PECDA), a biennial event, which will be a platform for emerging contemporary dance forms, where-by exposing artists to a wider audience. That said, PECDA, for artists, is not merely a means of showcasing their work, but is also a launchpad for their future development; ultimately leading to the development of contemporary dance in the country.
PECDA is open-entry competition, where judges look at works in progress of all entrants, over a span of two days and vet down the performances to the best. The winning performance is awarded two key things – a funding of INR 5 lakhs and an annual mentorship by an internationally-renowned dance company. While the funding is meant to serve as a means for artists to develop their work-in-progress performance into a full-fledged one, the mentorship provides them exposure and nurturing at the International Level – an element that was so far missing in the Indian contemporary dance scene.
After developing their performance over the period of a year, under the mentorship of the internationally-renowned company which helps the artists refine their production and presentation, the winning team subsequently showcases their choreographic piece at The Park’s New Festival, on a 6-city tour.
Karthika Nair, noted author, dance producer and curator is the Festival Director of PECDA. Karthika Nair was born in India, lives in Paris, and works as a dance producer and curator. She is the author of Bearings, a poetry collection; DESH: Memories, inherited, borrowed, invented, a dance diary; and The Honey Hunter/ Le Tigre de Miel, a children’s book illustrated by Joelle Jolivet. Nair was the principal storywriter and scriptwriter of DESH, choreographer Akram Khan’s award-winning production. As a dance producer, Nair has worked in several Parisian cultural centers and with choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Mourad Merzouki.
The jury members for this edition were:
- Claire Verlet (Deputy Artistic Director, Theatre de la Ville, Paris)
- Eddie Nixon (Director, Theatre and Artist Development, The Place UK)
- Frederic Mazelly (Program Director, La Villette, Paris)
- Elena Carmona (Director, Residency Space, Mercat de les Flors)
- Arundhathi Subramaniam (Author, Poet, Journalist and Curator)
- Renuka Narayanan (Author, Poet & Journalist)
Prakriti Foundation, in collaboration with Kalakshetra Foundation, presented the 2016 edition of the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards (PECDA).
The winning performance in 2016 was Folktale, choreographed by Surjit Nongmeikapam of Nachom Arts of Contemporary Movement and performed by Purnima Devi Yengkokpam, Hemjit Meitei Senjam, Suraj Roy Laiphangbam, Sumeet Sagolsem, Mukta Singh Khadangbam, Premananda Nongthongbam, Swavinath SharmaAribam, and Surjit Nongmeikapam.