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Lesson 1 – Origins of theatre anthropology

This film is part of the Project of Knowledge Sharing “Learning to see – Ten lessons in Theatre Anthropology” realised by Eugenio Barba, Claudio Coloberti and Julia Varley. Theatre Anthropology is the study of the human being in a situation of organised representation. In the film Eugenio Barba indicates and comments the shared technical principles aiming at building the performer’s presence in different acting and dancing traditions.

The film is dedicated to Sanjukta Panigrahi, a classical Indian Odissi dancer. We see her dance to open the first ISTA session in Bonn, Germany, in October 1980. Eugenio Barba comments: “Watching her, I lived the experience of opposites embracing each other: time tamed, time gone mad, time put into shape, time evaporated. These different natures of time materialised in the rhythms, changes of energy and flow of tensions of her dance. Sanjuka made me experience Beauty and Freedom.” Then the film jumps to the ISTA session in Albino, Italy, in 2016, and to Eugenio Barba’s talk introducing the principles of Theatre Anthropology. The film ends with a work demonstrations by Odin Teatret actor Toni Cots and the Balinese Oleg dancer Ni Made Putri.