All the Right Moves

Swiss dancer-choreographer Antonio Buhler returns to the city,but this time as a mentor at a residency project

Written by Debesh Banerjee | Published:October 21, 2013 5:10 am

There is a palpable anxiety on dancer-choreographer Antonia Buhler’s face as he watches young choreographers warm up before they take to the stage. Sitting on a front row at the auditorium of British Council,Delhi,the Swiss artiste is waiting to see the fruits of his three-week mentoring effort. “I am much too old to perform. I prefer choreographing young artistes now and developing their work into something better,” says Buhler,one of the four mentors at the Gati Summer Dance Residency 2013,who has been working with the six choreographers on their dance pieces. The choreographers showcased the efforts of their residency in an event called “All Worked Up” on Friday and Saturday at the British Council.

The 59-year-old Swiss choreographer is the Founding Director of Da Motus,a creative production group formed in 1987 in Switzerland,which has performed in various international festivals across 200 countries. In 2008,Buhler and his troupe performed at different public places in Delhi,Chandigarh and Jaipur. But his visit this time is more that of an observer. “This is a first for me to be in such a role. I tried not to interfere with the work of the choreographers but to make them question their pieces. Of course,sometimes the questions are a little bit

focused and force upon the question that how necessary it is to repeat things,” says Buhler,looking relaxed in a pair of linen trousers and shirt.

A certified yoga teacher from the Swiss Yoga Association,Buhler stopped performing in his own productions after 2008. Since then,he has taken on more of a choreographer’s role in productions for Da Motus.

The six pieces of experimental choreography at this year’s residency ranged from exploring an individual’s relationship with the city; a piece inspired by Khalil Gibran’s The Eye,which revolves around the perception of the bigger

picture; a piece based on Norberg-Schultz’s book Genius Loci; and one

inspired by the game of chess,where it explores the terrain of a war zone and its different strategies.

Buhler’s choreography has usually been referred to as dance-art,an organic performance which evolves from the vibes of the performers. He emphasises that the space,time and the energy of the dancers are the most important contributing factors for a performance. He admits that few of the choreographers at the residency came close to his style.

“I like to see a certain kind of physicality in a dancer’s movements and an animality,when the body is really moving. I saw that in one of the performers. Another aspect is the intensity of the approach where the body does not move much but is very deep and intense. Even in our performances,we strive for that intensity,” adds Buhler,who recently finished working on a production that will tour Switzerland.

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