British Council Arts programme in India transforms perceptions and positively influences people’s lives through forging strong cultural connections, fostering dialogue and empowering people with the skills and confidence to showcase their creativity beyond national and identity borders.
Dance is perhaps one of the most immediate and indeed spectacular art forms to achieve those objectives and to this end British Council’s acclaimed dance season Impulse was launched last year. British Council is pleased to announce that two South Indian dance companies have been officially selected to participate in the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival in Scotland as a direct result of Impulse!
During James Mc Gillivray’s (Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre) tour to India for Impulse, he also acted as the official scout for companies to be suggested to the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival 2014. The Festival aims to showcase works of top youth companies (dancers aged between 12-21 years) from the UK and from across the world. James came across many companies in India but was impressed by few who then went through the process of applying: making videos, rehearsing dance pieces and waiting for the opportunity to knock on their door.
Bharatham from Trivandrum and High Kicks from Chennai were shortlisted. They have the honour to become the only two Indian companies among 11 who will be demonstrating their work to the global audience in Scotland next year.
British Council has been the catalyst in making this cross cultural collaboration between India and UK work. High Kicks from Chennai is the first all-girls dance ensemble. To them this huge opportunity came through British Council’s Impulse which played a huge part in their recognition on a global platform. Workshops, interactions and performances that were organised by British Council both as part of Impulse and externally gave them the needed motivation and inspiration to develop themselves as a premium dance company with a global standard of performance. Their interaction with peer Impulse companies at workshops and discussions helped them in developing newer and more experimental work as well as expanding their dance vocabulary. And there is no looking back for them now: neck- deep in rehearsals, frantic presentations and running around for raising funds, these girls are truly taking dance entrepreneurship levels to a new high.
Impulse which started as a simple showcase season last year, has turned into a platform for creative exchanges that quite literally changed peoples’ lives. Enthralling more than 25,000 live audiences Impulse also engaged with more than 1000 creative entrepreneurs, dance enthusiasts and children.
This year, British Council takes this a step forward, beyond showcasing brilliant performances to creating entirely new work through the imaginative collaboration of dancers and choreographers from India and the UK. British Council focuses on mutual development and capacity building through a series of artist exchanges and a program of residencies aimed at production of vibrant new work. The idea is to get UK and India talking and working with each other in a meaningful and sustainable creative way.