Padmini Chettur began her contemporary dance career in 1990 with Chandralekha, a radical dancer whose modernist practice deconstructed the classical form of Bharatanatyam. In 2001, she went on to develop a distinct choreographical idiom - minimalist, abstract, format - stripping movement to an essential, anatomical investigation, prioritizing a sense of tension over emotion. Padmini’s approach to dramaturgy reveals complex connections between a dancing body and its environment, the parameters of performance as well as socio-cultural context, a subject’s place in history.
Her early productions - Fragility (2001), Paper Dolls (2005), Beautiful Thing I (2008) - have been presented the world around, including the Theatre de la ville (Paris) as well as smaller venues in India and Asia. Her later solo work - Beautiful Thing II (2011), Wall Dancing (2013), Varnam (2013) - has been seen in visual art spaces in the forms of film and durational performance, inter alia, at the Kochi Muziris Biennale (Cochin) and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul). Her most recent work, ‘Philosophical Enactment’, was performed with the writer Aveek Sen in Toronto, Berlin, and Yokokama. Padmini’s pedagogy of contemporary dance interrogates institutional thinking around technique, aesthetic, and discourse.