Erasing Borders - Festival of Indian Dance

Friday - Sunday, June 4 - 6, 2010

Highlight clips and behind-the-scenes commentary from the performers at the 2010 Erasing Borders festival of Indian dance. (4 min., 21 sec.)
Highlight clips and behind-the-scenes commentary from the performers at the 2010 Erasing Borders festival of Indian dance. (4 min., 21 sec.)

Asia Society and the Indo‐American Arts Council present

Erasing Borders:
Festival of Indian Dance
Spring 2010

"...the best new arrival on the city's dance scene in the last two years..."
New York Times

Indian—and India inspired—dance in an array of forms, old and new: Two evening concerts feature performances traditional and experimental, classical and post-modern, highlighting both dramatic and non-narrative dance. Day sessions of panels, workshops, and demonstrations explore aspects of Indian dance across genres.




Concert I
Friday, June 4, 8:00 pm

The opening night concert features an array of dance performances—the seductive grace of Shipra Mehrotra's classical Odissi, the brilliance of Parul Shah Dance Company's Kathak choreography, the postmodern take on Kathak by Cynthia Lee, the meditative and yogic Navtej Johar’s Bharatanatyam, the electrifying Wanted Ashiqz.


Concert II
Saturday, June 5, 8:00 pm

The second evening concert features an eclectic mix of dance performances—the elegance of Mythili Prakash's Bharatanatyam, the passion in Mesma Belsare's interpretation of 12th-century Sanskrit poetry, the lyricism of Parul Shah Dance Company's thumri, the narrative and humorous dance theater work of Sheetal Gandhi, the percussive fast-paced work of Ailey II inspired by Indian rhythms.


Kutcheri‐Mehfil: Cushion Conversations
Sunday, June 6, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

At the heart of Indian dance lies abhinaya, in which a dancer conveys poetic, philosophic, imagistic meanings suggested by the accompanying lyrics. Four senior performers of Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Bharatanatyam present their approaches to this art. The evening culminates with improvisations of abhinaya—across disciplines but within a shared aesthetic tradition.

Presenters: Anuradha Nehru (Kuchipudi), Prerana Deshpande (Kathak), Rachna Sarang (Kathak), Ramya Ramnarayan (Bharatanatyam)
Moderators: Chitra Sundaram, Prachi Dalal



Vachika: Talking Dance
Saturday, June 5, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

One of the most exciting elements of Indian dance is how it incorporates chanted poems and vocalized rhythmic syllables. Dancers demonstrate how, and discuss why, they use spoken sound and word in current work.

Presenters: Cynthia Lee, Rajika Puri, Reena Shah, Sheetal Gandhi
Moderator: Elise Thoron


Mathematics of Rhythm II
Saturday, June 5, 4:00 - 5:30 pm

How do mathematics and rhythm intersect? A fascinating discussion and demonstration of the Indian systems of rhythms, Carnatic and Hindustani, and the mathematical process of composition. Watch the complete video

Presenters: Balaskandan (Carnatic percussion), Mythili Prakash (Bharatanatyam), Prerana Deshpande (Kathak), Smruti Patel Jani (Mathematics professor and choreographer)
Moderator: Prachi Dalal


Moving Traditions
Sunday, June 6, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Dance traditions connect us to the past and move us into the future. As traditions transform, how have changes in patronage, transmission and globalization affected dance and choreography? A thought‐provoking discussion with leading dancers, choreographers, and scholars who will share their insights into the changing world of Indian dance.

Keynote Panelist: Richard Schechner (TBC)
Panelists: Anita Ratnam, Chitra Sundaram, Navtej Johar
Moderator: Purnima Shah



Comparative Workshop:
Angika: The Dance Body
Saturday, June 5, 12:00 - 1:30 pm

Experience and explore the body position and usage of feet, hands, eyes, neck in three classical movement forms: Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kalaripayattu (a martial art form).

Led by: Mesma S. Belsare (Bharatanatyam), Shipra Mehrotra (Odissi), Sridhar Shanmugam (Kalarippayattu)
Limited space available. Open to all.


Workshop: Rasaboxes
Sunday, June 6, 12:00 - 1:30 pm

Rasaboxes brings the practice of abhinaya into American performer training techniques. Rasaboxes was developed by Richard Schechner over his long engagement with avant-garde theatre, Kathakali, and the Naatyashaastra, a Sanskrit text dealing with theatre, dance, and music. Rasaboxes trains participants to physically access and express eight key emotions. It integrates ancient theory with contemporary emotion research, neuroscience, and performance theory. Rasaboxes integrates rather than separates acting, movement, and voice. It engages the whole performer in a single, powerful, and learnable approach.

Led by: Paula Murray Cole (Assistant Professor, Department of Theater Arts, Ithaca College)
Limited space available.


Indo-American Art Council's Spring 2010 dance festival programming at is possible in part by support from Analog Digital, Applecore Hotels, Continental Airlines, the City of New York's Department of Cultural Affairs, India Abroad, the New York State Council on the Arts, Rajika Puri, Rediff, and Sukhadia's. IAAC thanks its media partners—AVS, Desi Hits, Filmy, Lassi with Lavina, Masala Junction, and Sahara One; and its community partners—Aatma Performing Arts, Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Chhandayan, Harrice Miller Entertainment, Infin8, Jiva Performing Arts, The Kathak Ensemble & Friends, Sa Dance Company.