Photo by: Shay Peretz
PERFORMERS | COLLABORATORS (click or scroll down)
Parijat Desai, Artistic Director/Choreographer/Dancer
As choreographer for PDDC, Parijat Desai strives to create an organic and kinetic blend of Indian classical and Western contemporary dance. She has devoted her life to training in these radically different movement systems, and to finding bridges between them. Desai began developing the company in Los Angeles in 2000, and has been based in Brooklyn, New York since 2004. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center since 2009. In Los Angeles, Desai's work has been presented by the Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, Highways Performance Space, and Grand Performances. In New York, PDDC has been presented in New York by P.S. 122, Danspace Project, La MaMa ETC, Asia Society, and the Queens Museum of Art. Her work has been performed all over India and in Canada.
Parijat Desai has been a recipient of various awards including the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Creative Communities Grant, Asian American Arts Alliance SOAR Grant, Durfee Foundation's Artist Fellowship, and Lester Horton Dance Award for Individual Performance. She has been commissioned to collaborate with legendary Taiko composer Kenny Endo, and also developed choreography for Migritude, written by poet Shailja Patel, commissioned by the National Performance Network. As a dancer, Desai has worked on projects for David Roussève, Lynn Dally (Jazz Tap Ensemble), and apprenticed with the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (UK). Through performance, Desai has helped raise funds for immigrant services, earthquake relief, and victims of communal violence.
Desai teaches workshops in Indian contemporary dance. She was a teaching/artist fellow with the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, and taught through the Stanford University Dance Division as well. Desai has also taught at UCLA, Queens College, Mark Morris Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, A.P. Randolph High School, DanceWave, and Brooklyn Friends Academy.
Darlisa Wajid-Ali, Dancer
Darlisa Wajid-Ali is from Washington, D.C. where she found her love of dance and theatre at a young age, performing popular Bollywood dances for family and friends. She began formal training high school, where she was highly involved with the Theatre and Dance Departments. Darlisa pursued her love of the arts into higher education, graduating from Manhattanville College with a B.A. in Dance and Theatre. While there, she worked with renowned choreographers such as Doug Elkins, Earl Mosley, Peter Pucci and Bill Hastings. She also had the opportunity to travel to India, where she studied Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi. In addition to dancing with PDDC, Darlisa is assistant Artistic Director of the Afromoda Dance and Theater Company, a company dedicated to preserving and redefining the dance traditions of West Africa. She is also creating original works using her own unique style of movement that draws on the fusion of Eastern and Western forms of music and dance.
Mika Yanagihara, Dancer
Mika Yanagihara was born in Japan. She began her training in modern ballet at the age of two, and has since studied modern dance, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Mika initially came to train on scholarship and apprentice at the Martha Graham School in 1997-1998. She returned in 2009. She has performed at a variety of venues including television, film, expos, music videos and fashion events. She has taught jazz, modern and hip-hop and has also directed and collaborations between visual art and performance in Japan. Mika is currently working with 277danceproject, Diane McCarthy, Patricia Noworol Dance Company, and Parijat Desai Dance Company.
Danica Holoviak, Dancer
Danica Holoviak is a dance artist, potter, and practictioner of BodyTalk. She is a new addition to Parijat Desai Dance Company. Danica's BodyTalk Practice
Riyo Mito, Dancer
Riyo Mito is from Kobe, Japan. Riyo began her dance training in Ballet at an early age, and subsequently studied modern, jazz, Japanese traditional dance arts (Nihon-Buyoh and Nou-Kyogen), and rhythmic gymnastics at Takarazuka-Kita High School. She moved to New York and joined Parijat Desai Dance Company in 2006. Riyo has since trained in Horton, Graham, and Dunham techniques as well as Ballet and Jazz at The Ailey School (NY) and completed their certificate program. Riyo is also a company member of Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company (NY) since 2010 and Japan Performing Arts since 2008.
Matt Pardo, Dancer
Matt Pardo, originally from Albany New York, is a 2007 graduate of the University at Buffalo with an advanced honors B.F.A. in dance. Professionally, he has danced for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Black Box Dance Company, Groundworks Dance Theater, Northeast Ballet Company, Balasole Dance Company, the Santa Monica Contemporary Ballet, and as the company apprentice for the River North Chicago Dance Company. He has taught and choreographed for universities, dance studios, and choreographic festivals throughout the Northeast and Midwest. Matt began working with Parijat Desai Dance Company in 2011, and is a member of the Lucinda Childs Dance Company.
Swati Khurana, Visual Artist
Swati Khurana was born in India and raised in New York where she currently lives and works. Her videos, collages, drawings, sculptures and installations mine personal narratives and explore immigrant issues with a focus on gender, popular culture, and the seductive promises made by rituals. Khurana received a B.A. in History from Columbia University with a focus on South Asian post-colonial studies. From New York University, she received a M.A. with distinction in Studio Art and Art Criticism. Of her artwork, the NYT has called it "wry, delightful", and Platform Magazine, published in India, featured Khurana as one of “four promising talents” to watch in 2009. Her work
has been exhibited at Exit Art, Momenta Art, The Queens Museum, BronxMuseum of the Arts and Chatterjee and Lal, among other institutions. www.swatikhurana.com
Neeraj Churi, Visual Projection Design
Neeraj aka Lotus Visual has been providing visuals to parties and various events in New York, Mumbai and Amsterdam since 2005. Venues include clubs such as Touch NYC, Pacha, BB King, Highline Ballroom, Paradiso (Amsterdam) and other event spaces such as MOMA PS1, Cooper Union, Asia Society and Tribeca Performance Arts Center. As a visual artist he derives inspiration from his rich South Asian heritage with a blend of contemporary imagery. He chooses to express his creativity mixing several years of his experience as a computer professional and as a video editor. He collaborates with event promoters, DJs, bands and others artists. www.lotusve.com
Amina Ahmed, Costume Design
Amina's Work in Visual Art
Laura Williams, Light Design/Technical Direction
Laura Williams is a New York City based lighting designer and electrician. She traveled with PDDC on their India tour, after designing the company's performances at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center as part of the 2010 and 2011 Work and Show Festivals. Other favorite past designs include No Jacket Required’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged] (Under St. Mark’s, NYC and ISB, Brussels, Belgium); teatro oscuro’s award nominated Confirmation (NY International Fringe Festival), Note to Self (Manhattan Theatre Source); the award nominated IT (NY Strawberry Festival); The Actors' Fund 2009 benefit, Nothing Like a Dame (New World Stages); The Factory Girls, Our Lady of 121st Street (Stella Adler Studio of Acting). For six seasons, Laura has been a freelance designer at the French Institute/Alliance Française, NYC. She is entering her third season as Master Electrician at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
Shobana Ram, Vocalist
Shobana Ram is a singer/dancer/K-12 educator whose love of vocal music grew from listening to and learning from her parents MK & Nirmala Ramasubramanian, and later under her aunt, Smt Rajalakshmi Shankar. Building on her choral, gospel, and pop a Capella singing experiences, as well as deep immersion in Bharata Natyam dance, Shobana continued Carnatic training under gurus such as, the Bombay Sisters, Smt. Jayalakshmi Santhanam, and Sri K. R. & Smt. Meera Kedaranathan (Semmangudi bani), and Marathi music with Bombay Jaishree. She had the rare privilege of learning a piece from the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi. Shobana has collaborated on vocals and nattuvangam for choreographers Parijat Desai, Malini Srinivasan, and Satya Pradeep, and has combined vocals with her own dance performances. Of her past work with the Parijat Desai Dance Company, the NYT wrote, "Ms. Ram's singing was a gently unstoppable force of nature." Shobana is an active Teaching Artist in NYC and Long Island schools. Shobana feels privileged to be a part of Parijat's stellar crew.
Arun Ramamurthy, Violin
Arun Ramamurthy is a musician skilled both in Indian classical music, and in bringing this tradition into various contemporary music contexts. He began his training under the distinguished Anantha Krishnan, then went on to learn with the celebrated violinist brothers, Sri Mysore Nagaraj and Dr. Mysore Manjunath. He has accompanied major Indian artists such as Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna and T.N. Seshagopalan. Arun joined his guru Dr. Manjunath on two violin duet concert tours of the US in 2005 & 2007. He also released his debut CD Geethanjanli. Arun has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, Le Poisson Rouge (NYC), Maris Music Festival (Chennai), Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), and Gracie Mansion. Arun has performed with artists from various genres of music including jazz pianist Marc Cary, percussionist Sameer Gupta, Ragamala Dance Company, Cudamani Gamelan, and indie rock singer April Smith. Arun curates a monthly Carnatic music series at Cornelia Street Café (NYC), including an upcoming Carnatic Festival this August. Arun has conducted workshops in Carnatic music for Carnegie Hall's Global Encounters and teaches violin for Chhandayan Center for Indian Music and privately.
Sameer Gupta, Tabla
Sameer Gupta is a percussionist within improvisational styles of jazz, world, and fusion music. He plays classical tabla, jazz drumset, as well as a hybrid of the two. Jazztimes writes, “Gupta is known as one of the few percussionists simultaneously representing the traditions of American jazz on drumset, and Indian classical music on tabla.” Sameer began his training under the legendary Ustad Zakir Hussain, and currently has the honor of studying with tabla maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. He can be heard live and on recordings with such artists as Marc Cary, The Supplicants, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee, Pt. Ramesh Misra, Chitresh Das, Richard Howell, Snehasish Mozumdar, Srinivas Reddy, Prasant Radhkrishnan, Marcus Shelby, Parijat Desai, Stephen Kent, Sekou Sundiata and numerous other fine artists. He has played drumset at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Birla Auditorium (Kolkata), and tabla at The Lincoln Center and Asagiri Jam (Japan); and has conducted lec/dems on Indian classical music with Carnegie Hall's Global Encounters Program, and at Berkelee College of Music in Boston.
And introducing our newest collaborators:
Samit Bhonik, Tabla
Tripp Dudley, Tabla
Camila Celin, Guitar
Ehren Hanson, Tabla