Little Big Dance – Beeja (2020)
I spent January 2020 working with Anusha Subramanyam, director of Bharatanatyam company ‘Beeja’ and actor Dom Biddle to research a dance piece for children. We spent 2 weeks working with children in nurseries, in Frome, Somerset, to create a dance piece evoking the sights, sounds and smells of a train journey in South East Asia.
With the company, we crafted and played together, finding ways to invite the kids in. It was also a real journey for myself as an artist in how to relate my work to young children without patronising or dumbing down the material, and to ask myself honestly, what do I really want to say, to these little people who will in the future grow into full adults? And as a performer with Asian heritage how do I want to be as a role model for other potential Asian children in the audience?
We created songs, rhythms and visual surprises from Anusha’s travelling suitcase, her unravelling turban and her quick feet. I delighted in the collaboration, learning and mixing our intergenerational British and Asian backgrounds. In particular I was drawn to creating music from the percussive and playful sounds of words and found sounds, to paint the picture of a bustling train in India, inspired by Konnakol, Bharatanatyam and physical theatre traditions.
We performed this version of the piece in Brighton, in February 2020.
Lead Artist: Anusha Subramanyam.
Performers: Anusha Subramanyam, Dom Biddle, Jan Lee.
Music: Jan Lee
Little Big Dance is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England, South East Dance, Take Art, Leeds Dance Partnership, Dance Umbrella, Birmingham Hippodrome, Strike a Light Festival