This work will include an excerpt from Twin Rivers: a multidisciplinary work which explores the similarities between West African, West Indian, and Indian spirituality. He had his early training in Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) under Ms. Asha Prem, Mr. Prasanna Kasthuri, and Ms. Sujatha Srinivasan, and then in Chennai with Mr. A. Lakshmanaswamy and Ms. Bragha Bessell. He also studied Carnatic violin with Ms. A. Kanyakumari and Ms. Anusha Sreeram and Bhagavata Mela Natakam (ritual dance drama) under the guidance of Mr. S. Natarajan. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants including: “A Grade Artiste” from Doordarshan (Government of India) in 2015, “Pandit Durgalal Endowment” from Krishna Gana Sabha in 2013, and “Singar Mani” from Sur Singar Samsad in 2010. In 2017, Kiran co-founded Daya Arts, an organization dedicated to building bridges between diasporic communities of color through art. Kiran graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish in 2008 and also graduated from the University of Madras with an M.A. (honors) in Bharatanatyam in 2010 and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University in 2015.
Mesma Belsare: 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 Belsaré 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 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. 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, Arun Mathai, Curtis Andrews:
This group will be presenting an item speaking to gender and love utilizing bharatanatyam as a means to speak to these subjects.
Sujit Vaidya is an independent bharatanatyam artist based in Vancouver and has performed extensively in Canada, US, Europe and India 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. 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.
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.