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In Shantala Shivalingappa’s name we find Shiva, the lord of dance.  According to the texts, Shiva has over one thousand names. He is the god  of creation and destruction. Lord of cremation grounds, his body is  covered with ash. Shantala Shivalingappa’s dance revolves around the  figure of this god, whose vibration gives rise to the rhythm of the  world.

I asked Shantala if she wanted to experience ash. Ash is not merely  the solid residue of perfect combustion : it is a process. Ash is a  fertiliser. It is part of a cycle of death and birth. Ash therefore  possesses the potentiality of life. Is this why it is sacred in India,  why cremation grounds have a particular energy, why life and death are  but one and the same in the cycle of reincarnations? What does Shiva do?  He destroys and he dances.

I met Shantala Shivalingappa in 2008, in the corridors of the  theatre, in Dusseldorf with Pina Bausch. It was the last “Drei wochen  mit Pina” festival. Shantala danced with Pina Bausch in Nefés, she also  presented a solo, as well as a duet with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. It was  there that Shantala saw Plus ou moins l’infini (More Or Less, Infinity).  It was a time of strong convergence that seems almost unreal to me,  considering that it brought together a number of elements which were  going to be significant to my path and to that of Shantala’s. Something  was going to die here and something else was going to be reborn.

Shantala’s dance is moulded by this journey between Kuchipudi and  Pina Bausch, between India and Europe, between Shiva and Dionysus, who  are said to be incarnations of the same deity, Shiva having lived on in  Hindu mythology while Dionysus, swept aside by monotheistic religions,  was gradually forgotten in Europe, a wandering god, god of theatre.  Shantala constantly travels back and forth between Madras where she was  born, and Paris where she lives. Her dance mirrors this perpetual  swinging, somewhere between Hindu mysticism and quantum physics.

I pictured Shantala Shivalingappa dancing on ash for aSH, the title  of which is made up of the initials and last letters of her name. aSH is  the final opus in the trilogy of portraits of women, ten years after it  began in 2008 with Questcequetudeviens? (What’s Become of You ?),  followed by Plexus in 2012. In this trilogy, my starting point is not  space, which is my usual subject matter in theater, but a woman, a  person who has her own story. This trilogy is about a living being  unfolding through dance. With aSH, Shantala Shivalingappa dances beyond  herself. In a set designed from ash and vibrations, she incarnates Shiva  who propels the world into manifesting and allows space to dance.

Aurélien Bory • Sept. 2017

Source: Compagnie 111's website

More information:

Bory, Aurélien

Aurélien Bory was born in Colmar in 1972. His studies in physics in Strasbourg led him to the field of architectural acoustics.  He then ended his scientific curriculum in 1995.  He settled in Toulouse where he joined the creative studio at the Lido, the Circus Arts Centre. In 1998, he played in Theatre Tattoo's "L'Odyssée" directed by Mladen Materic.  In 2000 he founded Compagnie 111 with actor Olivier Alenda.  He then conceived and began the six-year-long space trilogy project, in collaboration with Phil Soltanoff, including "IJK", "Plan B" and "Plus ou moins l'infini" (More or less, Infinity).
In 2003 he directed Pierre Rigal in his first solo creation Erection, the stem of their ungoing collaboration, which also originated their second work together: Arrêts de Jeu premiered in 2006. Merging various other fields, he created "Taoub" in 2004 in Tangier with twelve moroccan acrobats, this very show will launch the international career of the Groupe acrobatique de Tanger (Tangier Acrobatic Group).  In 2008 Aurélien was the recipient of the "Créateur sans frontières" (Creator without borders)/ Radio France trophy for his international creations, notably "Les sept planches de la ruse" (The seven boards of skill) created in China in 2007 with performers from Dalian. In 2008 and 2009, he conceived two creations: "Questcequetudeviens?", a portrait of a woman, and "Sans Objet", a piece for an industrial robot. His creations include different artistic fields : theatre, circus, dance, visual arts, music...  His genre-crossing approach is inscribed within the question of space and is explored through his distinctive scenography. In 2016, he created "ESPÆCE" based on the French writer Georges Perec 's work, at the Festival d'Avignon (France).

Source: Company 111 's website ; Plan Bey 's press file

More information :

Shivalingappa, Shantala

Born in Madras, India, brought up in Paris, Shantala is the child of east and west.

She grew up in a world filled with dance and music, initiated at a tender age by her mother, dancer Savitry Nair. Deeply moved and inspired by Master Vempati Chinna Satyam’s pure and graceful style, Shantala dedicated herself to Kuchipudi, and received an intense and rigorous training from her master.

Driven by a deep desire to bring Kuchipudi to the western audience, she has performed in important festivals and theatres, earning praise and admiration from all.

Acclaimed as a rare dancer by artists and connoisseurs in India and Europe, Shantala combines a perfect technique with flowing grace and a very fine sensitivity. Since the age of 13, she also had the privilege of working with some of the greatest artists of our times: Maurice Béjart (“1789…et nous”), Peter Brook (for whom she played Miranda in “The Tempest” and Ophelia in “Hamlet”), Bartabas (“Chimère”), Pina Bausch (“O Dido”, “Néfès”, and “Bamboo Blues), Amagatsu (“Ibuki”). Such experiences make her artistic journey a truly unique one.

Today, Shantala shares her time between touring, expanding her choreographic work in the Kuchipudi style, and collaborating with various artists in the exploration of dance, music and theatre.

Some of these collaborations are: “Play” (2010), a duet with dancer-choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, “Nineteen Mantras” (2012), a modern opera inspired by hindu myths, directed by Giorgio Barberi Corsetti and for which Shantala created the choreography; “Peer Gynt”  (2012) directed by Irina Brook for the Salzburg Festival, in which Shantala was acting, dancing, and singing.

In 2013, Shantala was awarded the prestigious “Bessie” dance award in New York City for Shiva Ganga, for Outstanding Performance.

In 2014, she performed in “AM I”, the latest piece by Sydney-based “Shaun Parker & Company” at the Sydney Opera House, with a cast of 13 Australian dancers and musicians.

She also created “Blooming” at the Vail International Dance Festival, a short duet with Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley, a wizard in jookin’, a street-dance style from Memphis, Tennessee.

Her latest collaborations have both been in Barcelona and closely weaving together movement and music. First Impro-Sharana, with the Catalan singer Ferran Savall, and four of his musical accomplices, and most recently, « We Women » with Sol Pico, Julie Dossavi and Minako Seki.

Source : Shantala Shivalingappa Company 's website

More information :

Plasson, Fabien

Born in 1977, Fabien Plasson is a video director specialized in the field of performing arts (dance , music, etc).

During his studies at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (joined in 1995) Fabien discovered video art. He was trained by various video artists (Joel Bartoloméo Pascal Nottoli , Eric Duyckaerts , etc) .
He first experimented with the creation of installations and cinematic objects.

From 2001 to 2011, he was in charge of Ginger & Fred video Bar’s programming at La Maison de la Danse in Lyon. He discovered the choreographic field and the importance of this medium in the dissemination, mediation and pedagogical approach to dance alongside Charles Picq, who was a brilliant video director and the director of the video department at that time.

Today, Fabien Plasson is the video director at La Maison de la Danse and in charge of the video section of, an online international  video library, and continues his creative activities, making videos of concerts, performances and also creating video sets for live performances.

Sources: Maison de la Danse ; Fabien Plasson website

More information:


Artistic direction / Conception : Aurélien Bory

Artistic direction assistance / Conception : Taïcyr Fadel

Choreography : Shantala Shivalingappa

Interpretation : Shantala Shivalingappa

Stage direction : Aurélien Bory

Set design : Aurélien Bory

Live music : Loïc Schild

Lights : Arno Veyrat, Mallory Duhamel

Costumes : Manuela Agnesini, Nathalie Trouvé

Settings : Pierre Dequivre, Stéphane Chipeaux-Dardé

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Compagnie 111 – Aurélien Bory

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse de Lyon - Fabien Plasson, 2020

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