On November 1–15, 2021, the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Fall 2021 Digital Season continues with the world premiere of Other Places of Being by Belgian-based dance artist Sooraj Subramaniam. The presentation is free and available to watch on demand from Monday, November 1, at 5pm ET (2pm PT), until Monday, November 15, at 5pm (2pm PT), at bacnyc.org.

Other Places of Being is a digital collaboration between Sooraj Subramaniam and Kuala Lumpur-based dance artist January Low exploring their parallel experiences of the Odissi Indian classical dance form. These two dance artist have known each since childhood, but lost contact for nearly ten years. After reuniting, Subramaniam and Low created this work during the global lockdown in an effort to overcome distance and despondency. Other Places of Being exposes the bridging power of social media and technology and the rekindling of a friendship made possible through dance. The artists write: “This work, one in a long journey of discovery, hopes to situate dance within everyday acts, by prioritizing relationships and reconciling the urge for spectacle with the greater desire to be invested in moments.”

Commissioned by the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Other Places of Being was conceived and directed by Sooraj Subramaniam, with the screenplay, choreography, performance and music score by both Low and Subramaniam. The video editing was by Subramaniam. Running time for the film is 25 minutes.

Sooraj Subramaniam - Photo by Malcolm Johnson

Sooraj Subramaniam – Photo by Malcolm Johnson

Sooraj Subramaniam is an Australian-Belgian dance artist of Malaysian-Indian heritage who began his training in Bharatanatyam and Odissi at the Sutra Dance Theatre in Malaysia. In Australia he studied classical ballet with Stella Johnson, and later graduated from the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts. In the United Kingdom he worked primarily with SRISHTI, teaching and performing Bharatanatyam. He also toured internationally with Akademi, Balbir Singh Dance Company and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. While in London he also trained in Kathak with Urja Desai Thakore, adding to his varied vocabulary. Since moving to Belgium in 2012 Subramaniam has worked with independent choreographers Nicole Kohler, Kalpana Raghuraman, Seeta Patel, and the Maghenta Collective. Subramaniam situates his work in hyphenated identities, drawing heavily on poetic styles and choreographic templates from Indian dance, hinting at magical realism. To learn more about Subramaniam and his work, click HERE.

January Low - Photo by Cecilia Low

January Low – Photo by Cecilia Low

January Low was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and began her dance training it classical ballet followed by 25 years of Indian classical dance training at Sutra Dance Theatre, Malaysia, focusing on Odissi. Low has performed at the International Odissi Festival, Orissa (2014) and the Georgetown Festival, Malaysia (2015). In 2016 Low performed bloom while she was seven months pregnant. In 2017 she self-produced dedicated, her first independent solo. Low also choreographed and performed the opening performance for Festival Tokyo 2018, MI(X)G directed by Pichet Klunchun. Low spent most of 2019 questioning her identity, culture, and form, and how they have contributed to and affected her relationship with Odissi. Through this process she developed reclaim and presented it at the end of 2019. Low dedicates her practice to the power of process and uncovering newness in the familiar. She is currently under the virtual mentorship of Bijayini Satpathy. Read more about Low HERE.

WHAT: Other Places of Being a film by Sooraj Subramaniam in collaboration with January Low.

WHEN: Monday, November 1, at 5pm ET (2pm PT), until Monday, November 15, at 5pm (2pm PT)

WHERE: Free online at the Baryshnikov Arts Center website, HERE.

Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: Sooraj Subramaniam – Photo by Karolina Maruszak