The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art and Gati Dance Forum conducted a conversation with dancer/choreographer Urmimala Sarkar as part of the Body Space Time Conversation Series on May 3, 2018 at the FICA Reading Room.

The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, in collaboration with Gati Dance Forum, featured artist Urmimala Sarkar as part of the Body Space Time Conversations series, which is designed to invite a range of practitioners into the studio and engage them in a discussion about performance and its intersection with other disciplines. The series is part of BODY SPACE TIME, an ongoing 4-month certificate course in dance technique and choreography, running from Jan - May 2018 at Gati Dance Forum. It populates a context for the participants of the Body Space Time course, allowing them to engage with creative processes through their own practice and a wider dialogue. It also creates a space for practitioners to share their practice with the larger public, triggering a critical discourse that links various methodologies and forms.

Urmimala Sarkar, a social anthropologist and a dancer/choreographer, who is an Associate Professor teaching Dance Studies and the ethnographic documentation of performance at the School of Arts and Aesthetics in Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her research focuses on dance and identity, the politics of performance, gender and/in dance, and performance as research. 

Urmimala spoke about site/sight specific dancing bodies as an exploration of state-led curatorial process. Through her talk, she intended to evoke a discussion on the utilisation of dancing bodies in the construction of the public image of the state. Taking off from French post-structuralist Michel Foucault's claim that ‘the present epoch will perhaps above all be the epoch of space (Foucault 1986, P. 22)’ the talk highlights the structured designs of the post colonial Indian state that hierarchizes spaces of performance to generate different codes for the gendered body of the dancers to be projected and viewed. From the physical space where the performance itself takes place to the metaphorical sense of space that the performance creates in the minds of the audience — the analysis would examine such actual or referential presences of the bodies of dancers to actually understand the connection between embodiment and display of the principles of state led/ controlled subjecthood. 


The Gati Dance Forum is a pioneering arts initiative that works in the field of contemporary dance. Founded in 2007, Gati has consistently searched for avenues to create a sustainable environment for the development of contemporary dance practice in the country through a body of pioneering and innovative projects that attempt to address areas as diverse as pedagogy, creation, research, outreach and arts advocacy and policy.