Citizens' Issues
Alphabet of disability: C for Candoco, D for Dance
New Delhi : This might not be your regular contemporary show where dancers swirl in the air with fluid movements. Here, performers may be wheel-chair bound with well co-ordinated movements in sync with their partners.
 
Welcome to Candoco, UK's professional dance company that integrates physically challenged and other dancers.
 
Disability is not an impediment for Dan Dawn, a dancer with Candoco, who performed in the capital with Mirjam Gurtner, his stage partner for years, to a full house at British Council on Wednesday late evening. 
 
"Dance is everything for me. It's a challenge, its art, politics, and it's a special place for me," says Dawn, who joined the company five years ago.
 
The duo, who performed the act 'Studies for C' composed by award-winning choreographer Javier de Frutos, say that their focus is on creating a bold work rather than pitching on the disability quotient.
 
"Our philosophy is to create bold and excellent art. That's our focus and it's not about abled or disabled. Our dance is about celebration of bodies. Our bodies work in different ways to create a level playing field," says Gurtner, who dons the roles of a performer, choreographer and rehearsal director.
 
The act, inspired by Tennessee Williams' play 'Camino Real' and Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot', depicts a couple trapped in a stagnating relationship. Narrating the theme, Dawn says, "the couple is unable to escape the domestic world because their reliance on each other has become strong. It's about how they deal with the situation."
 
Dawn finds the Indian audience both encouraging and sensitive. The company has made pit stops in Kolkata and Chennai earlier this month as part of its Indian tour, marking its 25th year celebrations.
 
Set to traditional Mexican ranchera music by Lila Downs, the performances take place in an intimate domestic world in which the use of Mexican wrestling masks suggests the deeper, darker forces at work.
 
"The connotation is that when two people stay together in a place for a long time, there is bound to be conflict and the mask is the metaphor in the show," said Dawn.
 
The costumes, designed by de Frutos, feature the writings of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who famously said, "I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees."
 
Ask the duo how they find a level playing ground, and Gurtner says, "We made peace four years ago. It's a privilege to work together for long years. We have developed a relationship on stage and we have learned a lot from each other. It's about deeply connecting with your partner in movements in the stage."
 
The core philosophy of the company founded by contemporary dancer Celeste Dandekar 25 years ago, is in inclusiveness, says Gurtner.
 
"Dandekar had a fall while performing in a stage, resulting in a spinal injury. It prevented her from dancing until choreographer Darshan Singh Buller persuaded her to dance again, albeit from her wheelchair. In 1991, she founded Candoco to integrate both physically challenged and others".
 
Collaboration is the watch word for the company, says Gurtner.
 
"We have internationally famous choreographers. and they bring specific movements to company. It's about each dancer finding their way of working with their body in that manner. Here, artists also have the freedom to improvise. It's a collaborative process," she says, adding that dance opens the door to understand the world.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Swedish scientists develop transparent wood to brighten homes naturally
Bengaluru : Wouldn't it be great if wood -- a common construction material -- is made transparent? That would be attractive for designers and would allow sunlight to pass through and lead to a brighter future for homes and buildings.
 
Money could also be saved by cutting down on artificial lighting.
 
That feat has indeed been accomplished by Swedish scientists at Wallenberg Wood Science Center in Stockholm following up their earlier success in the development of transparent paper. They reported having developed "transparent wood that could be used in building materials and could help home and building owners (reduce) costs". 
 
Their material, reported in a paper just published in the American Chemical Society's journal "Biomacromolecules" could also find application in solar cell windows.
 
The researchers said the amount of light transmitted decreased with increase in wood thickness. Right now the transparent wood they have developed is only a few millimetres thick. 
 
"This is only a prototype," Lars Berglund, the main author of the report told IANS in an email. "We expect to make thicker structures very soon." 
 
Wood contains a structural polymer called "lignin" that blocks 80 to 95 percent of light from passing through. In their experiment, the researchers removed the light-absorbing lignin component from samples of commercial balsa wood. 
 
That was not enough as the resulting material was still not transparent due to light scattering within the fibrous wood cells. 
 
To allow light to pass through the wood more directly, the researchers stopped the internal scattering by incorporating refractive-index matched acrylic (Poly-methyl methacrylate), also known plexiglass. 
 
This process resulted in optically transparent wood that was twice as strong as plexiglass and able to transmit 85 per cent of light falling on it. 
 
According to the researchers, the structure of the wood tissue was "well preserved" after all these treatments and "the transparent wood also showed excellent structural performance."
 
Although the wood they developed is not as crystal clear as glass, its haziness provides a possible advantage for solar cells, the report said. "Because the material still traps some light, it could be used to boost the efficiency of solar cells," the scientists noted. 
 
"Therefore the lightweight, strong and optically transparent wood is an excellent candidate for lightweight and low-cost structures in light-transmitting buildings and for transparent solar cell windows. Solar cell fabrication based on transparent wood substrate is carried out in our group now."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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MTNL gets Rs.458 crore for surrendering CDMA spectrum
New Delhi : The government has approved compensation of Rs.458.04 crore to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for surrender of 800 MHz CDMA spectrum, the company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
 
“MTNL has informed BSE that government had approved compensation of Rs.458.04 crore to MTNL for surrender of 800 MHz CDMA spectrum out of which Rs.428.95 crore has been sanctioned for disbursal vide DoT (Department of Telecom) letter dated March 28, 2016 and MTNL has received the amount in its account on March 30, 2016,” the filing with the BSE said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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