Dancing with Nritarutya

Elisa Fontana reminisces how dance came into her life, her tryst with learning dance from and performing for Nritarutya.


I have to thank BMTC, for my meeting with Nitarutya Contemporary Dance. Was a girl I met on the bus, that invited me to attend to the dance class in Koramangala. Now Pooja is a good friend and Nitarutya my dance school. But the bus remain one of my favourite place where dance. I dance with my glance. I love to observe all these bodies completely different in proportions and movements stuck in a loud metal box with wheels, or people that astonish me jumping out while the bus is still going. I’m moved seeing women that sleep leaning against the glass and the children in their mother’s arms. And I don’t understand how the conductor can spend eight hours a day rubbing his body against hundreds of people. I imagine one day to see him make sparks!

This is dance, for me.

Dance of all micro-elements of life that turn around the body. Body is the center. And I suffer when I see the auto drivers with their back deformed from the handlebars too low from the seat. Sometimes I refrain from asking if they don’t realize it.

First of all, for me, dance is to be aware of body.

Doesn’t matter the choreography. Can be a simple walk on the stage. But if I see a dancer that do it with complete awareness…I can cry. And I remember Pina Baush, in Café Muller show…

When I saw an Odissi dance show I was completely enraptured. I was ecstatic, but at the same time intrigued by all those encoded gestures, by that so exasperated symbolism… It is so different from the dance that I practiced in Europe … I experienced the bodies moving in lines and softness, without precise meanings. It’s a completely abstract aesthetic. And see those Indian dancing bodies so full of decorations, clothes, colors on the face, earrings, rattles … everything felt very far, but at the same time very attractive.

When Niranjan asked me to make a mudra I was ashamed. I asked to myself : was not a contemporary dance class? Why mudras? Then I realized that I never danced with my hands. Why don’t try? And I remember to myself that Contemporary Dance is not a “style” but a continuous research.

My experience with Nitarutya, even if it was short, was a great research. It was like re-write my body gestures with another language, finding connections with the western approach: an interesting mix!

I enjoyed the class, where we were invited to explore different connections between body, space and movement.
And the showcase was an opportunity to be part of a big enthusiastic group, with discipline and practice. Waking up at 4,30am in the morning to reach Brigade Road from Whitefield, where I stay…sometimes I felt crazy. But dance is not about mind…is just body…thinking with the body.

This morning I put the music in my kitchen and I repeated the choreography that Niranjan created for our showcase. Just to find the right energy for the day.

And I’m sure I will do it also when I’ll be back to Italy. Because when we write something on our body, is very difficult to forget it. I teach drama and creative movement for very small children. And the school teacher are always surprised how kids memorize movements. It’s so simple: they don’t think, they dance.

I hope to come back and have the possibility to dance with this very professional and intense Contemporary Dance Company…It’s quite pity to leave…now that I know how to pronounce properly this name: Nritarutya!

Elisa Fontana.
Bangalore, 17th October 2014


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