Ideas of living and leaving, of sharing real and surreal stories, weaved together through movement, music, and flight

PETTEE, the performance, is about marrying these ideas and conversations together. Dancers and fabricated landscape lead the audience into an immersive world of movement and music and flight, where bodies unbend, lunge, and soar, to unseal and unpack years of youth, where multiple futures, each magical, seemed possible. Plotting to make that dream of weightlessness real are writers Deepak Unnikrishnan and Karthika Naïr, composer Sarathy Korwar and his musicians, set and lighting designer Willy Cessa, joined by three choreographers/performers — Wanjiru KamuyuSaju HariAli Thabet — and illustrator Appupen (George Mathen) and rigger Simon Nyiringabo.

PETTEE, in languages that are home to hundreds of millions of people (Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi…), has multiple meanings but one that everyone recognises instantly: container. The word can also shift shape to become box, briefcase, casket, coffin, in all the shapes and colors and materials that the human brain and hands have made possible. It is a word with siblings and cousins across the world. Like petit which can also mean the insignificant, the young. Which can mean humble, unknown, mean, poor… petty. It is a word that is our spirit animal, for all of us with rootlessness, with displacement, in our blood. All of us who inherited shoots instead of roots, feet instead of home. Containers we carry. Containers that contain us. Containers that make us dream of flight.

The performance on Apr 18th is followed by a post-show Q&A with the artists, moderated by George Jose, Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Presented with the support of Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels.

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