Rachna Nivas, Rina Mehta, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards
“…an evening of rhythmic magic.”
– Los Angeles Dance Chronicle
Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration that is rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music and dance. SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde and James Buster Brown, while bringing to the forefront the voices of powerful female artists. Serving as the bridge between tradition and innovation, history and progress, Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards create nothing short of magic on the stage.
Son of the Wind
Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas, Rina Mehta
“With its technical brilliance, emotional power, and reverent yet creative reinterpretation of sacred epic,‘Son of the Wind,’…was world-class transnational dance theater that celebrated Indian performance traditions even as it innovated within them and challenged cultural stereotypes.”
— Dr. Philip Lutgendorf, author of Hanuman’s Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey
A Woman’s liberation through Love
“Nivas’ choreography interwove girlish lyricism and sophisticated syncopation. Nivas’ Meerabai was by turns glamorous and writhing – and just as commanding was Nivas’ contemptuous swagger as the displeased husband.”
- Rachel Howard, San Francisco Chronicle
A solo work based on the life of the Hindu female mystic, Meerabai. This 16th century medieval princess single-handedly defies her role in a starkly patriarchal society by rejecting her husband and becoming completely immersed in her devotion to Krishna, the famed Indian deity representing consciousness. Through her lyrical poetry, she expresses her intensifying love for Krishna, deeming him as her sole beloved. Her defiance of her role as a woman, princess, and wife, spurs threats and attempts on her life. However, Meera never falthers from her path of seeking spiritual liberation from the mortal world of violence, slavery of women, and misguided pursuit of worldly desires (maya).
Traditional Kathak Solo
The traditional kathak solo is a tour-de-force performance of dance, music, poetry and storytelling. Unproduced, highly interactive and in large part improvised, the traditional solo is the exhilaration of kathak dance in its most raw and unadulterated form. The solo, as the name implies, features a single kathak artist in performance along with an ensemble of hindustani classical musicians (usually including tabla, strings and vocals) for anywhere between 90 to 120 minutes. As kathak evolves into the 21st century, the traditional solo is increasingly being replaced by group productions that are choreographed, and supported by recorded music and high-production value lighting and staging – making