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Asian Dance Theatre: performance through the lens

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of images of Asian performers taken by UK photographers in the past 30 years, Asian Dance Theatre: performance through the lens, will be on display at the Brunei Gallery from January 22 to March 21, 2009.

The exhibition will present images of Asian dance theatre performance, especially, but not exclusively, of South Asian dance, as seen through the lens of six well known British photographers who specialise in performance/dance shoots, covering the period from the late 1970s to present times.

In addition, the exhibition will feature images of Asian performers in Britain commissioned by Akademi, one of the leading South Asian dance organisations in the UK, currently celebrating its thirtieth year of activities.

A smaller, complementary exhibition will run separately in the foyer of the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) Khalili Lecture Theatre, presenting a history of South Asian dance in Britain through images belonging to Akademi. The images in both exhibitions will be of a range of performance styles – some tradition based, others of artists who see themselves as working in a contemporary hybrid mode.

The overall aim is to visualise how contemporary imaginaries inform new styles of presentation and determine new ways of perceiving, and consuming, Asian dance performance as a visual medium in the UK context.

A colloquium on the topic of Photographing Asian dance performance, open to the general public and organised by the SOAS Centre for Media and Film Studies, will take place on February 28, 2009 in the SOAS Khalili Lecture Theatre, as a major event associated with the exhibition.

Through the colloquium a range of questions will be explored, pertaining to the relationship between photography, choreography and the performance of Asian dance theatre.

The exhibition will be curated by Alessandra Lopez y Royo.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG

Tel: 020 7898 4046 (recorded information).