Erasing Borders Dance Festival 2021celebrates multiple dance forms: Sept 22-26

Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) has announced its annual Erasing Borders Dance FestivalSeptember 22-26, 2021 at 8:30 P.M. ET. Now in its 14th year, the Erasing Borders Dance Festival will be all-virtual in its presentation. Ten artists trained in Indian dance forms from across the world will be brought together in a virtual borderless festival. The dance festival is one among Indo-American Arts Council’s other flagship events featuring music, film, and literature, all dedicated to furthering the knowledge and living practices of the arts of the Indian sub-continent. Register on Eventbrite here to receive Festival updates and livestream links.

Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, Chairman IAAC stated, “This year’s Festival, celebrating the start of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, will include four performance evenings and two morning workshops. For this year, the curators selected dance works that speak to these reflections on 75 years. Pondering on the issues of old struggles, new ideas, hard won achievements, renewed actions, and future facing resolutions, the Festival curators selected works where artists think of dance as their personal journey. They reflect on how dance stimulates awareness and how dance may direct a sustainable future. The artists proudly present their dance as heritage and as part of the global world.”

Participating artists include Rukmini Vijayakumar, Preethi Athreya, Sonali Skandan, Kalamandalam Adithyan, Kaustavi Sarkar, Jyotsna Vaidee, Vaishali Trivedi, Bindu Rajendren, and Meera Sreenarayanan. Performances highlight Bharatanatyam, contemporary, Rajasthani folk, Kathakali, Odissi, and Mohiniyattam forms of dance. New to the festival this year will be a documentary presentation on September 23 by Kalbeliya World, an international solidary program that safeguards the art forms of women from traditional families of the Kalbeliya community in Rajasthan. Two morning workshops will round out the festival on September 25 and 26 at 10:00 A.M. ET. The first is led by Dr. Krishnakali Dasgupta and covers the Indian classical dance style of Manipuri and the second is a Rajasthani folk workshop conducted by Aakansha Maheshwari.

“The Erasing Borders Dance Festival was first imagined 14 years back for local New York audiences,” said Deepsikha Chatterjee, Erasing Borders Dance Director for IAAC. “It has always been and will continue to be a transcontinental festival given the focus on Indian dance, whose practitioners live all over the world. Offering the festival virtually allows Indian dance to be seen across the world and in many of its original settings. In 2020 we were able to feature a Purulia Chhau dance company of 12 artists of Ashpara Care Club performing in their village square. Krishnakshi Kashyap performed Sattriya, a 400-year-old living dance form in the temple complex, in front of the deities as originally meant to be performed as a devotional practice. This year, similarly, we will feature Kalbeliya World, a documentary on 12 female Kalbeliya folk dancers and their drumming accompanists distributed in three different locations in Rajasthan. And Kalamandalam Adithyan will perform Kathakali assisted by his chuttikar (makeup artist), fellow dancers, and several musical accompanists, capturing Kathakali’s natural flavor from the southwestern state of Kerala. Virtuality has allowed the festival many possibilities.”

“The Erasing Borders Dance Festival is a five-day dance festival that commemorates and promotes the cultural vibrancy and amalgamation of people who call NYC home,” said Suman Gollamudi, Executive Director of the Indo-American Arts Council. “Immigrant artists have always been essential to the creative landscape of New York City. Across multiple disciplines, immigrants are key to the city’s global reputation for artistic excellence. The lineup includes artists who are local New York City residents and are from the Indian-American community.”

Each evening will include a panel discussion with the performers led by moderators who are among the doyen of the Indian dance community, explained Senior Curator Uttara Coorlawala. Kumudini Lakhia, Arshiya Sethi, Sonal Mansingh, and UK’s Chitra Sundaram will lead these vibrant panels.

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