Drive East 2017 — Indian Classical Dance & Music Festival in NYC — Aug 21-27

A gathering of Indian storytellers share perspectives through diverse forms of Indian Classical Dance and Music: 50+ artists from all over the world come together to New York City for Drive East 2017

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August 8, 2017: New York, NY: This August will see its fifth Drive East festival in Manhattan, from August 21 – 27, 2017. Promising to have an even more impactful and immersive experience this year, Navatman sets off its week long Indian performing arts festival at Dixon Place on the Lower East Side. While usually at LaMama, the intimacy of Dixon Place serves to accentuate a sense of inclusiveness and immersiveness as soon as you enter the space, making it an ideal venue for the to view and experience all the nuances of Indian classical dance and music. From widely acclaimed stalwarts to lesser known gems, Navatman bring NYC 20+ concerts in Indian classical dance and music.

“This year, Drive East’s curation has been a little more nuanced. For instance, our four bharatanatyam performers each come from vastly different styles, allowing the patron to understand some of the more delicate nuances of the form. On the other hand, every kathak performance features guest and collaborative artists – such as Jin Won working with Korean Drums, and Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta of Leela Dance collective working with tap. Some nights are intended to give you a more traditional feel, like the solos on Tuesday evening, and others are intended on showing the more unique aspects of Indian dance and music such as Saturday night’s artists Rajasthani Caravan, Devdutta Sengupta, and Battery Dance Company. – Sahasra Sambamoorthi, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman

In addition to the 20+ concerts, there are a slew of smaller events: rangoli designs that are planned to adorn the festival steps, official artist meet and greets post each performance, free storytelling sessions on Hindu mythology for families, and advanced intensives for adults in the mornings. Each day brings more than just the concert, but an immersive experience that takes you through every performance.

“We are excited to move to a space that really allows a lot of intimacy between the performer and the viewer. Every year, we’d get feedback that people really loved seeing the shows where the performers were no more than an arm’s length away, so we took that to heart when we decided to move to Dixon Place this year.” – Sridhar Shanmugam, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman

Some of the exciting dance events this year include: the beautiful and brilliant Odissi danseuse Sujata Mohapatra who will be performing on opening night; co-founders Sridhar Shanmugam & Sahasra Sambamoorthi will be performing on stage together, Renjith & Vijna form a husband and wife duet team from Chennai, and Prince of Dance – a power-packed evening of full length concerts by male dancers that includes Christopher Gurusamy (Bharatanatyam) & Avijit Das (Kuchipudi).

This year brings an interesting mix of collaborating Indian styles with other traditional forms. We have 3 Kathak performances but each performance highlights a different aspect and commonality with another style. We have Kathak being set to Korean drums (Jin Won and Sue Yeon Park), and Kathak being juxtaposed with tap dance (Leela Dance Collective). In addition, we have rarer art forms like Manipuri (Devdutta Sengupta) gracing the stage this year.

Music brings us the eminent sarod player Aashish Khan, who will be opening the festival, and the melodious and lyrical music of sitarist Kinnar Seen. Carnatic music can be rarer to find in Manhattan, but Drive East has two soloists Shankar Ramani and Ananya Ashok, not to mention the firebrand Navatman Music Collective, one of the only carnatic choirs in the world. The brilliant Rajasthani Caravan troupe joins us from India, bringing with them unique the sights and sounds of folk music and dance.

A new addition to the festival, Navatman will also host Saturday Youth Day concerts. Youth concerts allow exceptional up and coming students trained by stalwart gurus a place in the festival as well, such as  Guitar Prasanna’s students who perform Carnatic music on electric guitars.

About Navatman:

Navatman, Inc was founded with an eye on creating a sustainable home for the South Asian arts in New York City and its surrounding neighborhoods, particularly emphasizing Indian classical music and dance. We are a game-changing organization dedicated to creating ground-breaking work in the South Asian classical performing arts in the areas of education, performance, and production. We are best known for our Manhattan-based classes, critically acclaimed productions, dynamic dance company, and stellar carnatic choir, all of which have received reviews in mainstream press including the New York Times, India Abroad, The Hindu, the Financial Times, and The Star-Ledger, to name a few. Navatman continues to see success in their goal to preserve Indian classical music and dance through democratizing these art forms by increasing their accessibility, and innovating on pre-existing business and organizational models to stay relevant, fresh and exciting.

Concert Line Up:

Monday, August 21st:

  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Aashish Khan – Sarode Recital
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Sujata Mohapatra – Odissi Recital

Tuesday, August 22nd:

  • 6PM – 7PM Indrani Khare: Hindustani Vocal Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Kinnar Seen – Sitar Recital
  • 8:30 – 10PM Janaki Rangarajan – Bharatanatyam Recital

Wednesday, August 23rd:

  • 6PM – 7PM Jin Won and Sue Yeon Park – Kathak Meets Korean Arts
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Navatman Dance, Feat. Sridhar Shanmugam – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 8:30 – 10PM Shankar Ramani – Carnatic Vocal Recital

Thursday, August 24th:

  • 6PM – 7PM Pranamya Suri – Kuchipudi Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Apoorva Jayaraman – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Ananya Ashok – Carnatic Vocal Recital

Friday, August 25th:

  • 6PM – 7PM Prince of Dance: Christopher Gurusamy – Bharatanatyam Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Prince of Dance: Avijit Das – Kuchipudi Recital

Saturday, August 26th:

  • 2:30PM – 3:30PM Youth Concert Day: Shankhadip Chakraborty – Hindustani Vocal Recital
  • 3:45PM – 4:45PM Youth Concert Day: Carnatic Power – Carnatic Guitar Recital
  • 6PM – 7PM Rare Arts of India: Devdutta Sengupta Ghosh – Manipuri Recital
  • 7:15PM – 8:15PM Battery Dance Company – The Durga Project featuring Unnath Hassan Rathnaraju,  sponsored by State bank of India
  • 8:30PM – 10PM Rajasthani Caravan – Rajasthani Folk Music & Dance Recital

Sunday, August 27th:

  • 2:00PM – 3:30PM Navatman Music Collective – Carnatic Choir Recital
  • 3:45PM – 4:45PM Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta of the Leela Dance Collective with guest artist Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards – Kathak Recital
  • 4PM – 5PM Renjith & Vijna – Bharatanatyam Duet Recital

Educational Events:

  • August 21 – August 25: 5PM – 5:30PM – Free storytelling sessions on Indian mythology for children
  • August 26: 12:30PM – 2:30PM – Saturday Youth Day

You may also be interested in checking out Garamchai.com ‘s Art and Culture section with extensive listings of Indian Dance and Music academies around North America

Indian Dance workshop in Grinnell College, IA

Summer Dance Intensive 2017

Hold the dates June 28-July 3
Workshop Teachers include Leela Samson, Madhavi Mudgal, and Rama Vaidyanathan.

VENUE: Grinnell College, IA http://www.grinnell.edu/

DATES – June 29 (9 am start)
June 30
July 1
July 2
July 3 (3 pm finish)
Please plan on attending full workshop

DANCE INTENSIVE: Dakshina will host a residential dance intensive between June 28–July 3rd at the scenic Grinnell College campus in Iowa. The classes will be led by legendary dancers Leela Samson, Madhavi Mudgal, and Rama Vaidyanathan. The intensive is recommended for advanced dancers who can work in a fast pace. The dancers will learn yoga, Bharata Natyam, Odissi (technique and dances), and choreography. After learning the solo dances, the participants will work with the guest teachers on adapting a solo item into a group format.

Students will perform the group choreography on the last evening of the intensive. Students will learn 2 dances depending on how quickly and how well they master each dance. The teachers will only proceed to the next dance after the dancers master the first dance. Students will learn a solo version and a group version of each dance.

Evenings will be set aside for practice, discussions, film viewings on dance. If you are working on your own choreography, the evening times will be perfect to receive one-on-one guidance.

***Workshop will only take place if we have 10 participants by the May 20th deadline.***

More details at  dakshina.org

FEES
Fees include housing, meals, and tuition for the workshop. We are doing this workshop at cost, and would gratefully accept any donations over the workshop fees listed below to help continue making these educational and professional opportunities possible. ***Workshop will only take place if we have 10 participants by the May 20th deadline. If Dakshina cancels the workshops, the fees will be refunded. Please email info@dakshina.org with any questions.***

Fees  $1075 if paid before May 20 ( $1175 if paid between May 20th to June 5th, $1275 after June 5th)


LEELA SAMSON
LeelaSamsonWideSmallLeela Samson is an alumnus of Kalakshetra. Her seemingly understated delineation conceals a powerful and inspired inner source, which gradually unfolds before the viewer. She is a virtuoso performer and a sensitive interpreter of the nuances of Bharatanatyam. Two significant documentary films have been made on Leela Samson – ‘Sanchari’ by Arun Khopkar and ‘The Flowering Tree’ by Ein Lall. Leela is the recipient of the Sanskriti Award in 1982, the Padmashri Award in 1990, the Nritya Choodamani Award in 1997 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000. She served as Director of the Kalakshetra Foundation from 2005 to 2012. Spanda, a group that presents works conceived and choreographed by Leela Samson, attempts to explore bharata natyam. Launched in September 1995, Spanda now has an evolving repertoire. Spanda is ‘a vibration’ or pulse and is symbolic of the enduring and perpetual energy that is the life force of the universe. It acknowledges prithvi – the earth, as the central source of energy in the universe, as the nabha, the womb is the energy centre of the human body.

MADHAVI MUDGAL
madhavi-sepia350WidthContributing to the evolution of classical Odissi dance with her artistic vision and talent, Madhavi Mudgal is a renowned dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She has become India’s premier Odissi exponent, garnering awards and acclaim for sustaining the art form’s authenticity while pushing it beyond traditional constraints. Born into a family deeply involved in propagating the classical arts, she was immersed in music and dance from a very young age. She trained in Bharata Natyam and Kathak under great gurus and later turned to Odissi which she adopted as her preferred medium. She has trained under Guru Hare Krishna Bahera and Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. Through teaching, performing and conducting workshops, Madhavi has been actively involved in propagating the art of Odissi in New Delhi and other parts of India as well as the world. She received the Sanskriti Award, the President of India’s award, the Padmashri, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to the world of Indian Dance. A frequent guest artist with Dakshina, Ms Mudgal is a nurturing teacher who pushes and refines the performance quality of dancers. She is known for her group choreography and will be teaching some rare North Indian abhinaya dances.

RAMA VAIDYANATHAN
RamaSmallRama Vaidyanathan is a leading exponent of Bharatanatyam, a popular classical dance form of India. She is undoubtedly one of the most sought after artistes of her generation having carved a name for herself in the Bharatanatyam World. She has trained intensively under the legendary dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and the renowned Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Everyone who has seen Rama perform is struck by her unique thought process and fresh approach to dance. While deeply routed in tradition She has evolved her own individual style without forsaking the core principles of Bharata Natyam. She brings to her dance a rare sense of devotion and dedication, which leaves the audience with a sense of spiritual fulfillment. She has received the Kalaimamani, Nadanamamani, Natya Bhairavi, and Bharatha Rathna award among many others. A good friend and frequent teacher at Dakshina’s workshops, Mrs. Vaidyanathan will be leading classes in technique and group choreography along with teaching her signature Bharata Natyam dances.