MallakhambIndia @ Gold coast for festival 2018, Australia
MallakhambIndia has been working for 12 years to promote and teach the techniques of Mallakhamb for physical and mental advantage to people around the world. During the same time, the team has travelled to many countries to be part of various festivals, reality shows, musical theatre productions and many more.
What’s completely different and mesmerising about Festival 2018 for Commonwealth Games @ Gold Coast, Australia is what we are presenting in front of people here.
Benjamin Knapton, the Director of MallakhambIndia show @festival2018 from Australia bought his vision to create a full 30 minute Mallakhamb show for Festival 2018 it was a big surprise for the whole team. What’s really challenging is performing for 30 mins without leaving the stage, without any other performing team. MallakhambIndia have never performed for more then 8 minutes continuously. Benjamin and his positive approach made us believed that it’s possible.
The concept of this show is:
1. Mind behind invention of Mallakhamb,
2. Mallakhamb turning into sport,
3. And how in recent years Mallakhamb has become artistic.
Putting these 3 different energies on stage was the most difficult but challenging job for the whole team. Working with Anant Donn Bhatt, the music composer for the show, not only gave life to the show through his composition and live music but also completed the vision of The Director.
It is not overstating to say that working with MallakhambIndia artists from India over the past 2 years has been one of the highlights of my artistic career. Mallakhamb is a mix of wrestling, gymnastics and aerial yoga and is traditionally used as a training practice for wrestlers and more recently as a sport in India. Practitioners of Mallakhamb use large, wooden, vertical poles to eloquently perform feats of astounding physical artistry.
It has been a deep privilege to spend many months working in Mumbai and Australia with artists from Mallakhambindia and Mumbai-based sound artist Donn Bhatt. We have reached a moment in our collaboration where we have created the first ever Mallakhamb show for the stage. Unlike previous presentations of Mallakhamb on the stage, which run for no longer than 6 minutes, this show has gone through a long artistic development period to authentically transform the training practice into a work of art.
The show is influenced by history and its relationship to now, the past and present of India, as well as the connection between our respective cultures. Traveling together both in Mumbai and Australia the creative team have been consistently influenced by our similarities’ and differences’. How do we understand one another if we do not negotiate with each other? How do we understand one another if we do not deliberate together? How do we understand one another if we do not make something new together? These questions have been a very practical process of our collaboration and have fed our artistic creation.
This Mallakhamb show is physically brutal and tender, spiritual and irreverent, astounding and human. It is about the 6 artists that present it, their bodies and how they connect with the world around them.
Created by Benjamin Knapton with artists from MallakhambIndia
Benjamin Knapton: Director
Donn Bhatt: Composer and Live Musician