Birmingham Dance Network (BDN) is undertaking a unique collaboration with screen dance director Sima Gonsai to produce a short dance film that responds to the current climate crisis affecting the UK and global community.
Drawing on the success of Sima’s 2021 dance film ‘And Breathe’ inspired by the newly introduced Clean Air Zone in Birmingham, this sequel responds to localised climate research about soil health focusing on soil toxic inheritance, farming practices and soil preservation. Told through combining South Asian dance and film, ‘Cultivate’ will highlight the human interconnectivity of soil and celebrates soil ecosystems.
The film, supported by The Space, a digital commissioning agency, will be an artistic cinematic response to celebrating and protecting the soil beneath our feet, told through the medium of contemporary Kathak and Sufi dance. It will feature two female dancers who together display the opposing nature of soil; the toxic and destructive farming process, the frantic urgency needed to sustain the environment and the intimate inter-webbing of roots that form connections in nature and humankind.
The movement was created by dancer and choreographer Kesha Raithatha. Kesha has divided her time between India and the UK training in Kathak, Contemporary, Kalari Payattu, and various Indian folk forms. She is extremely keen to utilise her position in the arts sector to generate a constant flow of creativity between artists of India and the UK alongside making work that is relevant or even taboo to the current social and political climate.
The production process will naturally keep in line with the theme of the film. We are committed to creating work that has a low carbon footprint; by using local site locations and sustainable materials on set and post production, we aim to create a dance film that is as energy efficient as possible.
Sima Gonsai, Director said:
This sequel explores how we can cultivate a new culture to celebrate, preserve and heal the soil beneath our feet. Telling this story through dance and film enables us to artistically explore how the body can connect with the land. Soil health is a global issue and we hope this film will reach audiences worldwide.
Karen Wood from BDN said:
This is such urgent and needed work, BDN is excited to support the making of this film and be involved in the creative process. BDN is keen to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable making and working. Sima and I have worked together previously and this project supports the legacy of our creative relationship.
Fiona Morris, CEO and Creative Director of The Space said:
The Space is delighted to be supporting Birmingham Dance Network in the creation of this new film which will creatively explore and raise awareness around soil health. The film will be produced in a sustainable way and is another example of the ways in which the arts can be used to highlight contemporary issues and prompt debate.
This project has been funded by The Space.
The Space is a digital agency established by Arts Council England and the BBC to help promote digital engagement across the arts and cultural sector. They are here to support the UK arts and cultural sector, make great art and reach new audiences using digital media, content and platforms. They provide commissioning support for arts and cultural organisations, and the artists they work with, plus training events and online resources.
About the Space Arts
About Flatpack Film Festival
About Birmingham Dance Network
About Sima Gonsai
About Kesha Raithatha
Our Partners are:
https://www.thespace.org/ – The Space
https://flatpackfestival.org.uk/ – Flatpack Film Festival
https://juliesbicycle.com/ – Julie’s Bicycle