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POSTCARDS - Briana Blasko's India - The Dance of Life

POSTCARDS - Briana Blasko's India - The Dance of Life

By Briana Blasko

Published on April 1, 2008
Briana Blasko

Editors note:
In “Postcards” we ask dancers and dance enthusiasts to share with us their travels from home.

 

These photographs are a small sample of my time spent in India this past December 07 and January 08. For two months, I traveled through Bombay, Varanasi, Auroville, Chennai, Kerala, and New Delhi. My projects with MTV, a boy’s orphanage, a classical/modern Indian dancer, a costume designer and a fashion company were extremely varied and show something clear about why I decided to revisit India. I’m interested in her never-ending list of contradictions.

My journey began in Bombay shooting stills on a music video for MTV in early December. I was initially excited about seeing some Bollywood dance, but turned skeptical when finding out the video was a mash of Hip-Hop and Hindi. I decided to take the project, but was disappointed to find the tone of the dancing and costumes were overtly western. A week later I landed in Varanasi (Benares) which is situated on the Ganges River. Life in Varanasi centers around this holy river and thousands of pilgrims come each day to do spiritual practices. The ashram/orphanage I stayed at in Varanasi was on the river and I spent a considerable amount of time taking boat rides up and down the Ganges. Moving on to Auroville, I began a long term project with a design team photographing their garment collection called "Upasana." We used dancers from a near by dance theater as our models. After the shoot, I headed to Chennai to start working on a book project with Indian choreographer/dancer, Anita Ratnam and costume designer, Sandhya Raman. The photos were shot in Chennai and New Delhi for a collaborative book project by the two women which will feature their work together from the last 15 years. Anita’s training is in Bharatanatyam, Mohini Attam and Kathakali. These three styles of classical Indian dance are reflected in her specific choices of costume, jewelry and movement. The images of Anita are a range of rehearsal, backstage and performance shots.

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