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BARAYE-Woman. Life. Freedom

Baraye is a labour of love. It is a work from the heart. It is our heart.

I and the entire crew feel honoured to have been able to dance to this beautiful song by Shervin Hajipour who was arrested within 2 days of releasing his song on Instagram. Each #baraye is a call out to bring awareness to the human rights violations in Iran. We hope our work will amplify the voice of the movement in Iran.

Premiere: MARCH 2023
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YAVANIKA-veiled perspectives

YAVANIKA started off one fine day as I sat in quiet contemplation thinking about how my life had changed since I was a young adult just getting out of school ready to rock the world. I had met so many strong and beautiful women in my life and each one of them had a soft beautiful heart – sometimes worn very visibly on their sleeves and sometimes hidden deep behind the recesses of work, responsibility, harsh circumstances and such. With each one of them something shone strong and bright – one just had to look.

 I made a conscious decision to come work in the United States. The social, cultural, educational perspectives were different. I needed to think differently to understand fully the functioning of systems and relationships. I met more strong and beautiful women from different countries and cultures. 
         Some written off by society and some worshiped as role models.
         Each one of them hid a story behind their bodily exteriors. 
         Each one of them had a perspective on their lives as well as others. 
         Each one was right!

Premiered: MARCH 2014
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KALAPRAYANAM-journey in time & space

The intricate rhythms, different time signatures and myriad spatial formations in this dance are intended to communicate how life itself is a journey: at times random, at times fixed, at times fluid, and at times firm.

The piece begins with slow languorous movements interlaced with equally slow but terse movements. It then moves on to the rudiments of Bharatanatyam; simple strikes, placements and glances that get progressively more complex. Groups of dancers execute the same movement at the same time but at different time intervals.

As the dancers weave patterns in space they are also playing with Kala or time, who at the end, defines each dancer’s destiny. How we respond to the dictates of Kala, defines the path our lives will take.

Premiered on June 2009 (prelude in May 2005)

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Created with the intent to engage young adults in the choreographic process, I have tried to maintain my signature nritta structure while enabling young minds to understand how the creation process works in tight conjunction with music and math. The student dancers have shown immense interest and passion in learning the choreographic process at an early age.

Music composition -   Meera Krishna
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BINDIS & BRAIDS-Struggles on 1st generation Indian Americans

Written by teenagers
Composed  by teenagers
This a choreographic presentation on the challenges faced by 2nd generation Indian Americans is a result of many months of brainstorming in my weekly dance classes with my teenaged students. We talked about struggles, joys, pains and frustrations. My shishya Astha Soni wrote the script and another shishya of mine, Vennela Kadavakollu took her first leap into experimenting with creating music under my guidance. It was such a heart-warming project and I loved creating costumes for the two personalities in one as they adapted to life balancing two cultures and expectations.

This work is a representation of the struggles faced by 2nd generation Indian Americans immigrants who walk the narrow tightrope between the two cultures. It is a hopeful piece about what could change to create a smoother “growing up” for children of first generation immigrants in the US across nationalities.

Premiere: APRIL 2021
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Annotating Emotions & Eras bloomed as an extension of the work around my previous work called Laya Samvaad where instead of an orchestra, the dancer’s body and voice is used to create music for dance. This is a short experimental work in the Bharatanatyam style of dance that explores different eras on Earth using different rhythmic time patterns or Jaathis. It is also meant to be a stark reminder of the impact of the information era and the toll it takes on human relationships.

I was grateful to use the movement and voice of artists such as Meera Krishna and Vidya Sekhar as well as percussionist Emam in this exciting venture.

Premiered on APRIL 2015
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Laya SamvAd - Rhythmic Conversations

“Rhythmic Conversations or Laya Samvaad" was born out of the chronic lack of local Bharatanatyam musicians. As dancers, we were limited by the pre-recorded music we could obtain from India. This meant not being able to work on new productions locally and improvise on stage. 

As I pondered on the idea of a new production, I thought, why not have the dancers do nattuvangam and speak out the jathis for other dancers? Why not have a challenge-response sequence performed by the dancers themselves? That is how Laya Samvaad was born.

"Laya Samvaad does not have boundaries except for that of a rhythm pattern. What you see at one performance cannot be considered complete. It is ever-growing, constantly evolving depending on the dancer and the respondent.”

Premiered on June 2009 (repeat shows in 2009-2012)

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VARNAM- Shanthala Devi

This was my first attempt at creating a fully home-grown varnam including poetry and konnukol composition. I learnt a lot about how such incredibly complex pieces take shape and why.

The varnam is based on a Kannada fiction novel, by Dr. K.V. Iyer. The novel tells the story of a 12th century queen Shantala Devi, who is immortalized in the architectural wonders at Belur and Halebid, small towns in southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Raga: Poorvikalyani | Tala: Adi | 

Lyrics: Nagashree Yagati & Dr. Gayathri Ashok 

Music Composition: Dr. Meera Krishna |  

Dance & Jathi Composition: Dr. Joyce Paul Siamak 

Art Review

Premiered - AUG 2013 (repeat shows in 2021)
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SAM LUMINOUS - Site specific Art 

DIWALI BALL Seattle Arts Museum 22nd October, 2011 -   As the docent walks through the exhibit, dancers weave in and out of the exhibits and dance out the concepts captured in sculptures and paintings. Interpretive dance tours projecting static art into dynamic art for Luminous - the exhibition of South Asian Visual Arts.

Dancers - Vilasini, Shalini, Meera
Vocalist - Ganga
Music - Meera Krishna

Premiered 2011 (repeat shows 2012)
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