Ephemeral Perfection With Hakanaï !

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In Japanese, Hakanaï denotes something which is fleeting and delicate. An ancient word, it is written by combining the graphic characters symbolizing ‘man’ and ‘dream’. This symbolic convergence is the baseline of the 40-minute contemporary dance piece Hakanaï which explores the fragility of the human condition. As part of Bonjour India 2017-18 and in collaboration with the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Bangalore), Hakanaï was performed in Bangalore (Jan 24), Chennai (in collaboration with Prakriti Foundation on Jan 28), Hyderabad (in collaboration with Krishnakriti 2018 and HICC on Jan 31), Delhi (Feb 4), and Kolkata (Feb 9).


Hakanaï is considered an iconic production in contemporary French dance theatre. It was originally conceptualised by Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne of the Adrien M et Clair B Company in 2013. Though Mondot and Bardainne often mine theoretical and mathematical sources for inspiration, they treat the empirical study of their surroundings as their guide.


Hakanaï was created after careful formulating with a large team of programmers, scenographers, sound designers, and visual artists. The entire piece takes place inside a 3D cube made from translucent veils. By combining sensors and video projection mapping with CGI, a single dancer takes a visual journey inside this space. The dance is in coordination with the graphics which in turn need to sync with the music – an intrinsically complex task!


The appeal of Hakanaï‘s lies in the exchange that takes place between the performer and programming. Though the audience can only see the dancer, it is actually a team of three that makes the show a success — the dancer, the musician, and the lighting manager. The imagery on the veils dynamically responds to the movements and proximity of the performer. The visuals and sounds are generated live thereby offering a uniquely different performance for each and every iteration of the performance.


For the India tour of Hakanaï, the French ballet dancer Virginie Barjonnet trained the Bengaluru-based movement artiste Priyabrata Panigrahi to interpret the choreography. Barjonnet was chosen to transmit the performance as she was the first dancer to perform Hakanaï in Lyon in 2013. She recounts that she was enraptured by the idea of the piece since the very beginning as it places the human body at the crossroads of technology and art. The training session took place from May to November 2017.  Interestingly, rehearsals took place without the 3D veils on which the graphics are projected. The idea was to nail the dreamlike yet emotional movements even without the accompanying imagery.

Priyabrat Panigrahi

Priyabrat Panigrahi

The 26-year old Priyabrata is an alumnus of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts and has also studied at P.A.R.T.S. (Belgium). He has an extensive background in movement arts and admitted that being in the box can sometimes feel like a silent meditation and be a cathartic experience. This is largely due to the fact that the graphic design on the veils seems to amplify what is happening in his mind.


It is by linking digital and performing arts that Hakanaï enchanted Indian audiences. The performances were a powerful testimony to what art and technology can do when they work hand-in-hand. Perhaps the most interesting part of the performance took place when the show itself was over! After the quadrifrontal performances, audiences were invited to explore the stage installation by walking inside the veils. It was heartening to see the childlike wonder with which the spectators navigated this unusual space! A clip of the performance can be found here :

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...