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    • Drive East/ Navatman
    • 732-580-2093
    • driveeast@navatman.org
    Drive East is pleased to present "Dualities in Dance - Gender Binaries in Indian Classical Dance" as the performance and panel theme on Thursday, August 16th, at 8:30 p.m. The performers/panelists are Kiran Rajagopalan, Mesma Belsare, and Sujit Vaidya (featuring artists Arun Mathai and Curtis Andrews). This work will include an excerpt from Twin Rivers: a multidisciplinary work which explores the similarities between West African, West Indian, and Indian spirituality. DRIVE EAST: Drive East (driveeastnyc.org) is an expansive Indian dance and music festival that features 30+ concerts in just two week. In its sixth year, our week long festival will be in New York from August 13 - 19 and San Francisco from August 22 - 26. It is a festival that regularly features some of the best artists of the year from all over the globe(last year The New York Times mentioned two Drive East artists as the top 10 of 2017) and is an immersive experience into the world of Indian classical arts. Whether you are a seasoned patron or interested in learning more, there is an experience for everyone in this extraordinary festival. KIRAN RAJAGOPALAN is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, writer, and educator based in the Bronx. Trained extensively in Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) for over 25 years, Kiran has given many acclaimed performances in India, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, France, and the United States. Kiran graduated with a B.A. (magna cum laude) in Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish from Boston University in 2008, an M.A. (honors) in Bharatanatyam from University of Madras in 2010, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University in 2015. Kiran also regularly conducts workshops, lectures, and demonstrations on Indian classical dance and neuroscience. Described by The New York Times as "a tour de force" and by The Dance Current Magazine as "as mesmerizing as staring into the heart of a fire", MESMA BELASARé is a dancer, painter and actor. She studied Bharatan?tyam at the Kal?padma Academy (Bhopal, India) and the N?tya Vriksha Academy of Performing Arts (New Delhi, India), and is currently continuing her studies with Maya Kulkarni in New York City. Belsaré is a recipient of the Cambridge Arts Council's Artist-Grant, the Government of India scholarship for advanced training in Bharatan?tyam and Indian classical music, and the New England Foundation for the Arts DANCE grant. Solo dance performance venues include The Lincoln Center (NYC), Asia Society (NYC), Alvin Ailey Theater (NYC), The Lincoln Theater (Washington D.C.), Siri Fort (New Delhi) and the Harbourfront Centre (Toronto). Artist-residencies, lectures and performance venues include Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA 2015-17; William Patterson University, Wayne, NJ 2016; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 2010; Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA 2011; Marymount Manhattan College, New York City 2009; University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 2008; Emerson College, Boston, MA 2007; The New School, New York City 2007; Tufts University, MA 2005, and the Boston University, MA 2004. Theater/Acting credits include When January Feels Like Summer and A Christmas Carol (Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA), Gehri Dosti: five short plays with a South Asian Bent [Harvard University and Wellesley College, Circle East, NYC (choreographer)], Tughlaq (Harvard University), Dance Like a Man (Triveni, New Delhi and Harvard University) and the opera The Bandit Queen (Holy Cross College and Boston University). Having studied classical Bharatan?tyam, music, painting, and both Indian and European aesthetics, Belsaré's work derives inspiration from performing and visual arts alike. SUJIT VAIDYA is an independent Bharatanatyam artist based in Vancouver and has performed extensively in Canada, US, Europe and India. Solo work is his forte, although he has been part of duet and group productions with companies such as Co Erasga in Vancouver and Dakshina Dance in Washington, DC, to name a few. While continuing to pursue training in the traditional form of Bharatanatyam with his Guru A. Lakshman in Chennai, India, he creates work that speaks from a deeply personal space. He uses Bharatanatyam as a language to reimagine the content of traditional texts and responsibly contextualizes it in ways that are relevant to him as a gay man living in today’s times. He finds it important and urgent to question the narrative and relevance of non-inclusive traditional texts. His urban sensibilities juxtaposed seamlessly in an art form rooted in tradition informs his work and makes it unique and interesting. He was the first South Asian artist to receive the Vancouver City’s Mayor’s award as best emerging dance artist in 2010. He is currently developing a work called “EROS” in collaboration with Hari Krishnan, artistic director of inDANCE, Toronto which explores his sexual identity as a gay man and his most recent work “OFF CENTRE” explores the .disconnect that he feels with traditional elements of Bharatanatyam in stark contrast with the affinity that he feels for the art form. Arun Mathai started studying Bharatanatyam when he was seven years old, enrolling at Kala Vandana Dance Center, based in San Jose, California. Arun trained in the Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam, and completed his arangetram (solo dance debut) in 2000. Arun moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California and, while there, began exploring other styles of dance, including Bhangra, Bollywood, Garba/Raas, Hip Hop, Tap, and Jazz. After obtaining his B.S. in Business Administration he joined Los Angeles-based Blue13 Dance Company, the premiere contemporary Indian dance company in the U.S., and soon became a principal dancer with the company. Through it all, Bharatanatyam remained a focus for Arun. He also eventually began traveling abroad, both to study with respected teachers and to perform. Curtis Andrews is a Canadian-based musician with global persuasions, that specializes in South Indian percussion, West African music, drumset, and mbira. A percussionist/composer/teacher who creates music that is informed by his many years of experience with West African, South Indian and jazz traditions yet transcends most categories His personal musical journeys over the years have extended to villages and metropolises of Ghana, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and he has developed a deep knowledge of the history and performance of music from these areas. His personal mentors have included (the late) Don Wherry, Trichy Sankaran and Frederick Kwasi Dunyo. He continues to study and perform with these masters whenever possible. He leads his own ensemble, The Offering of Curtis Andrews, to play his award-winning original music, produces collaborative world-music events, co-leads Adanu Habobo (Ghanaian music/dance), explores Carnatic music with singer Vidyasagar Vankayala, plays Zimbabwean mbira, marimba and drums with Zhambai Trio and Zimbamoto, and regularly collaborates with a diverse community of artists. Drive East 2018 Featuring: Arushi Mudgal (odissi), Shijith N Parvathy (Bharatanatyam), Shruthi Kezhakepuram Purushotham (Mohiniyattam), Dr. Anwesa Mahanta (Sattriya), Mesma S. Belsare (Bharatanatyam), Sujit Vaidya and group (Contemporary), Kiran Rajagopalan (Contemporary), Navatman Dance (Bharatanatyam), Anuj Mishra and group (Kathak), Sandip Mallick and Group (Kathak), Preeti and Piyush (Kathak), Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose (Bharatanatyam), Prabal Gupta (Kathakali), Dr. Ragunath Manet, Nehaa Mondal Chakravarty (Bharatanatyam), Bhavana Reddy (Kuchipudi), Alam Khan (Sarode), Vishal Vaid (Ghazals), Vinay Desai (Santoor), Navatman Music Collective (Carnatic Vocal Choir), Nirmala Rajasekar and Group (Saraswati Veena), Flute Raman Trio, Pt. Rattan Mohan Sharma
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