DISHA dance

International contemporary dance gathering 14–28 January 2017

Join us for twelve days of cultural exploration and intensive physical training rooted in the traditional forms and philosophies of India. Located on a beautiful island close to Cochin in the South Indian State of Kerala this unique dance event brings an opportunity to immerse yourself in the martial art discipline of Kalaripayattu, in readiness to develop greater power, creativity and direction in your dance practice.

DISHA : direction (Sanskrit)

Leaving the distractions of urban life behind, DISHA will provide a peaceful setting in which to learn about the cultural traditions and practices not only of Kalaripayattu, but also Ayurveda and Kathakali. A martial art form, a system of health and wellbeing, and a highly developed form of classical dance-theatre respectively, these three distinct practices can be seen to be interwoven in their foundations of discipline, balance and the interconnection between body and mind. Daily instruction by local masters of Kalaripayattu will be followed by an afternoon of intense physical training by internationally renowned practitioners of contemporary dance – Saju Hari and Kristina and Sade Alleyne (Akram Khan dance company).

Alongside the workshops there will be plenty of opportunities to relax at DISHA. Every participant will be given two complimentary massages by local professionals in the form of Uzhichil, a system originally designed to prepare warriors to train in Kalaripayattu which rejuvenates the nervous, circulatory and muscular systems of the body. It is usually carried out with the feet and involves medicated Ayurvedic oils.

There will be a boat tour for visitors to see the natural beauty of the local waterways on day 2, and another opportunity to explore the island and the nearby mainland on day 8. On one evening in each week there will be lecture demonstrations by leading exponents of Kathakali, Kerala’s renowned form of classical dance-theatre.


We are delighted to invite participants from a wide range of movement disciplines to take part in DISHA. We are committed to encouraging international cross border co-operation between artists and to nurturing hybrid dance languages which go beyond dance styles, cultures and genders. To register your interest, please send your biography and a covering letter explaining your motivation for attending to


Dates: 14-28 January 2017

Location: A small island in the backwaters close to Kochi in the South Indian state of Kerala

Rate: 650 Euros per person

Capacity: limited to 30 places

Application Deadline: 20 November


DISHA was born out of Sreejith and Saju's combined interest and passion for contemporary dance. First meeting during their contemporary dance training, Sreejith pursued his interest in film and is now a Kerala state award-winning film choreographer, while Saju pursued a successful international career in contemporary dance. For many years these great friends had talked about combining their experiences and history to create a space for dance to take root and flourish within the fertile setting of Kerala, with its wealth of knowledge and history in mind, body and traditional performance arts. DISHA is the realisation of that dream!