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.
French-Indian, poet-dance producer/curator, Karthika Naïr calls herself a portmanteau person, “like sofa-beds and motels”, and is the author of several books, including The Honey Hunter (Editions Hélium – Actes Sud/Zubaan Books, 2013), illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet. Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata (HarperCollins India/Arc Publications UK, 2015), her reimagining of the Mahabharata in multiple voices, won the 2015 Tata Literature Live! Award for fiction and was shortlisted for the 2016 Atta Galatta Prize for Fiction. Naïr’s poetry has been widely published in anthologies and journals across the world.
The jury members for this edition are:
- 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)
- Chandrika Grover (Arts Consultant, New Delhi)
- Renuka Narayanan (Author, Poet & Journalist)
- Farooq Chaudhry (Producer, Akram Khan Company)
Prakriti Foundation in association with Department of Museum, Government of Tamil Nadu presents the 2018 edition of the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards (PECDA) from 28th – 31st August in Chennai.