Shyam Dattani


Dvihīna, Sanskrit for ‘devoid of gender’, is an ensemble South Asian dance exploration with four diasporically-trained Kathak dance artists of diverse gender expression.

This work seeks to question the innately gendered movement in the form and the cis-heteronormative lens through which Kathak is taught, performed and viewed in the diaspora, by queering the ideas of Tāndav (masculine or vigorous) and Lāsya (feminine or graceful) in the abstract movement practice.

Although ideally, both these extremes should be embedded in the building of a dancer’s movement vocabulary, the reality shows that the movement quality expressed usually coincides with a dancer’s external gendered appearance, with little space for an expression that is fluid and doesn’t conform to gender constructs.

Dvihīna hopes to, through the choreography, de-gendered costume and original score, allow an appreciation of the movement itself over the body wearing the movement.

Suitable for all ages
Duration: 20 min

Artist Bio:

Shyam Dattani (he/him) is a London-based mover and maker whose practice is grounded by strong technique, training and choreographic thinking, as well as trying to shift thinking regarding the innate gender roles within ‘Kathak’- the form he is trained in.

He has been training with Urja Desai Thakore at Pagrav Dance Company since 2016 and was the South Asian Dance category winner of BBC Young Dancer 2017 & grand finalist. Since then, he has worked extensively with leading South Asian dance choreographers and companies in the UK & beyond, including Akademi, Beeja, Jaivant Patel Company and SRISHTI, touring both nationally and internationally.

Dattani combines his unique perspective as a queer diasporically-trained dancer and love for costuming in his choreography, and has received seed commissions from Sampad Arts, Akademi and The Mehfil Project to present work.