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18.05.2017

Our chat this week with dancer Sahiba Sudeep is interrupted several times by workers asking questions and her offering emphatic suggestions on design elements. In between these volleys, she explains why the dancers of Nivesaa are currently elbow deep in paint, fibre-glass and boxes of nails.

Sahiba and her crew have taken up drills and brushes to build part of a new collaborative art space they’re opening next month in Indiranagar. Nivesaa 2.0, their new studio, will be bigger, roomier quarters for the three-year old dance company. The new building will be the house of Meeraqi, a larger project headed up by Sahiba, fellow dancer Astha Gulati, and photographer Sudeep Bhattacharya.

Meeraqi - from the Greek for “labour of love” - will be open for workshops and rehearsals, offer an exhibition centre and a performance area, and generally serve as a haven for all kinds of art. “We want it to be the place that births great artistic visions across disciplines,” Sahiba says.

Meeraqi - from the Greek for “labour of love” - will be open for workshops and rehearsals, offer an exhibition centre and a performance area.

Brickrollin’      

By the time it’s open for applications from other artists, construction will be complete, so come not with your toolbox and hopes of building muscle tone, but with ideas and collaborators for theatre, music, painting or literature. All three artists plan to run the place in hands-on fashion, and are currently in the midst of a crowd-funding campaign that will help cover costs for the space and subsidise those who want to work here.

“We are very aware of the challenges that artists face,” says Sudeep (whom you may know from his frequent appearances on swanky lists of India’s top ten wedding photographers). “We want this to be a hassle free experience for them.”

Meanwhile, the Nivesaa studios will continue to host contemporary dance classes, urban choreography and aerial yoga, for all you Silks Smithas. The space dedicated to Meeraqi is the 7000-sq ft terrace that perches above these rooms.

Sahiba, who’s spent time in Delhi, says that Meeraqi will perhaps be somewhat similar, in idea, to the capital’s lovely Khoj Studios, always full of people working on cutting-edge dance dramas, avant-garde art (and Shrewsbury biscuits, thanks to its cute café -- Meeraqi will have one soon too, we’re told). “There is so much vitriolic hate being spewed across the world, we need to hear voices that are liberal and artistic,” she tells us. “We need ideas that can add beauty back to our lives.”

Getting there: See more details about Meeraqi here

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