Zodiak Laboratory is Zodiak's residency concept. In September 2023 the Z-Lab residency artist is Lydia Touliatou.

Lydia’s experimentation investigates the contemporaneity of Bharatanatyam and its non-verbal translatability to a Western audience. The movement research is suggesting the creation of a kinetic vocabulary moulded by the symbiosis of the eastern and western dance trainings forming her practice (Bharatanatyam, Cunningham, Graham, ballet, release).

She will be exploring a form of contemporary storytelling, which can underline present societal issues, with the narrating tools of classical Indian dance. By isolating fundamental concepts of Bharatanatyam, such as “abhinaya” (facial expressions), “adavus” (steps), and “mudras” (hand gestures), she is attempting to break through the current architecture of the classical form by employing choreographic tools towards expansion and experimentation.

I am interested in testing the plasticity of the Indian classical form in a western contemporary stage context and observe its relatability and effect to the Finnish audience.”

During her choreographic research and demos, Lydia will be posing questions around Orientalist notions that persist to be embedded in the way Eastern traditional dance forms are being discussed and staged in Western dance scenes. She will be suggesting an approach to the classical form away from the notion of “needing explanation”, as something that the western audience cannot decode.