Paramita Saha is the Co-Director of Sapphire Creations Dance Company in Kolkata which is one of the oldest contemporary dance studios in India. We quizzed her about her passion for the arts at her studio over a cup of delicious green tea.
“I think dance itself is a big act of defiance. I think art itself is a big act of defiance. Every time you create you are actually defying so many forces around you which don’t want you to do that. They want you to follow the math. They want you to fit in and artists don’t fit in. Dancers don’t fit in at all. ”Paramita insists on celebrating the individuality of each of her dancers and believes that therein lies their true potential. She seeks beauty in the abstraction of the individual.
“Our dance is very organic. It starts with the body. We spend a lot of time improvising, so we find a lot of language, a lot of movement and a lot of narrative from the body itself.” says Paramita about their dance movement.
She recalls how contemporary dance was once seen only as an acrobatic performance rather than art. It has only recently evolved into defining its own literature. This meant breaking the mold of classical technique and transforming it into a free-flowing narrative.
She says “So all the dancers you saw have been working with us for around 8 to 9 years and each of them come with a very strong story, dance or otherwise. A lot of them are trained in various classical forms, so that itself is a fairly strong journey of how to do classical form, how to sort of break out of that mould and create more free-flowing form”
“The things I always talk about in every dance is abstraction and how it is interpreted. How much of it is me? How much of it is you? I feel it is as much you, as it is me.” We love that she sees her audience as an integral part of her performance. While the dancers explore space they also give their audience room to explore their own story. That is why Paramita assures us that an identical performance in Calcutta would play out very differently in Seattle.The Sapphire Dance Company has a global presence and put up performances across India as well as across the world.
“I don’t want the shape of my body or my movement to be defined by what I am wearing. I prefer using clothes that move with me and find space behind, beside and inside my movement. My clothes are an accessory to my dance.”