Beyond the dancing doll | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Beyond the dancing doll

Indian contemporary artist Sujata Goel explores issues of cultural performance, identity and exoticism

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First we saw a body part, an arm perhaps, bent into a triangle, and the rest was darkness. The lights went out. The performer moved, and another body part was lit up. As the performance moved from obscurity into brightness, Sujata Goel continued to move in the same pattern, changing from pose to pose until the spotlight covered the entire stage as if opening up the possibilities of what this dancing body was and could be. 

Dancing Girl was presented in Bangkok at the nine-day event "Our Roots Right Now: the Research Forum and Festival of Thai/ASEAN Contemporary Theatre", organised by Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Arts. "Our Roots Right Now", which ended last week, featured performances by established and emerging artists and companies from the region, workshops conducted by visiting artists as well as academic forums and roundtable discussions.

The name of the festival may have made some assume that it was going to be an exotica extravaganza, but while it embraced a diverse range of cultural performances, it also had cast a critical eye on issues of cultural performance, identity and exoticism.

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