Q&A with Navala ‘Niku’ Chaudhari

1 January 2019

This Spring, we perform our newest outdoor work, Amaranthine, at Move It, the world’s biggest dance event celebrating all forms of dance across three amazing days in London.

Ahead of the performance, we catch up with Co-Choreographer, Navala ‘Niku’ Chaudhari, to find out more about the making of the production.

1) Niku, it’s great to have worked with you on the co-creation of Amaranthine. We’d love to know more about you, please tell us!
I am originally from London, with mixed Indian heritage.  I began training competitively in Shaolin Kung Fu at the age of six.  I gained my degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) from 1999-2002.  Since then I have been working as an international freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer working in diverse fields of dance including film, theatre, and music videos.  In 2010, I joined Eastman, the company of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in Belgium. In this role, I’ve been working as a dancer, teacher, rehearsal and movement director and choreographic assistant, as well as working on my own projects.

2) Amaranthine is a joint choreography between you and our Co-Artistic Director, Kevin. How did the two of you meet and how did the choreography evolve?
Kevin and I were both studying in the same class at the NSCD.  After graduating we pursued our thirst to dance in different dance companies across the globe.  We met again in 2008 for the Place Prize competition.  At the time I was co-director of Company Decalage and I invited Kevin to dance with us alongside Michael ‘Marso’ Riviere.  We made Breaking Point together which reached the semi-finals. Under this direction we began to research the themes for Amaranthine.

3) What are challenges of co-creating and developing a choreography with another artist?
Amaranthine was a special collaboration as it was made on our own physical bodies.  We were both working with other dance companies at the time and we would meet at the weekends to create and finish the piece. This was challenging on the body as we did not get much time to recuperate.  The collaboration went smoothly as we both had a common artistic vision and a natural physical connection.  Our desire was to create powerful interdisciplinary duet work together.

This year we met again after not seeing one another for five years and we created a whole new section to the existing repertory.  Here choreographing from the outside, it felt like we had seen each other only yesterday and that time had not passed.  The challenge to create with another artist is that both your artistic voices are heard and envisioned.  With Kevin it felt like we were on the same page and it was a pleasure to work with the company dancers that brought our vision to life.

4) What are the themes in the piece?
Amaranthine explores the timeless cycle of conflict and resolution between two people.  The message that it expresses is that when all is said and done all we have are the people we cherish. An unspoken bond which cannot be broken.

5) Why is Amaranthine great to watch from an audience perspective?
It is a piece which a lot of people can relate to, as it looks closely at the male and female human relationships.  The movement is also very powerful and risk taking.

6) Describe the movement style in the piece.
The style is an amalgamation of the techniques which Kevin and I both studied.  The movement was very instinctive to how we wanted to express the story and was born out of the experiences we both had.  In a broad sense the piece has a lot of influences from martial arts, capoeira/b-boying, contemporary dance and partner work.

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Company Chameleon perform Amaranthine at Move It on Saturday 9 March, when we will also be delivering an associated workshop. Find out more about Move It here.

Amaranthine is choreographed and directed by Kevin Edward Turner and Navala ‘Niku’ Chaudhari. Performed by Theo Fapohunda and Juliana Javier. The seed of the idea grew out of the research made under the direction of Marso ‘Mickael’ Riviere.

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