To Dance Like Your Dad 2009

To Dance Like Your Dad (2009) spotlights Hetain’s rehearsed imitation of his father, who since emigration from India to the U.K in 1967, has never returned to India. Here he restages existing footage of his father in his coach building factory, in Bolton, UK. Focussing on his father’s physicality, Hetain performs his words, his accent, mannerisms and movements, whilst the camerman too performs all the original camera movements. Both films are shot in a single take and play in synchrony with one other.

Hetain’s interest here is in the subtleties between what is inherited and what is imitated. The attempted imitation provides a construct for these discussions to take place. Occasionally he moves out of sync with his father, sometimes missing a movement. At the other extreme certain physical traits confirm a genetic link between father and son. At times the source of a perfectly matched posture or expression is difficult to pin point- is this performance skill or inheritance?