‘SPEAK: Kathak and Tap Unite’ Receives Its East Coast Premiere at Holy Cross

March 20th, 2017 by 


Arts Transcending Borders (ATB) at the College of the Holy Cross presents “SPEAK: Kathak and Tap Unite,” a collaboration that brings together leading artists in kathak and tap dance, in its east coast premiere on Monday, March 27, at 8 p.m. in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom. A Q&A with the artists will follow.

The performance is free and open to the general public. Reservations are recommended but not required.

Indian kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Jimmy Slide and James Buster Brown, while bringing to the forefront the voices of a new generation of female artists.

The performance will feature Rina Mehta; Rachna Nivas; and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards; and Indian classical and jazz musicians Jayanta Banerjee, sitar; Vaibhav Mankad, Indian vocals; Satyaprakash Mishra, table; Austin McMahon, drums; Carmen Staaf, piano; Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass.

SPEAK will receive its world premiere on March 24, 2017 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, before coming to the College of the Holy Cross.

For more information, visit the ATB website or call 508-793-3835.

About the Artists

Rachna Nivas, who has been deemed “revelatory” by the San Francisco Chronicle, has an extensive performance career to great acclaim across the U.S. and India, both as a soloist and principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company. She was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award as part of CDDC, received the Alliance for Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts grant. She is a senior disciple of the late legendary master, Pandit Chitresh Das and the former director of the Chhandam School of Kathak, one of the largest classical Indian dance institutions in the world.

Rina Mehta, founder and artistic director of The Leela Institute, is one of the most powerful Kathak artists of her generation. She is also a senior disciple of the late Kathak icon, Pandit Chitresh Das, and has performed to great acclaim across the U.S and India, both as a soloist and principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company. She received a Fulbright Award for Dance, an Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant, and has been nominated twice for an Isodara Duncan Dance Award as a part of CDDC.

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards has been a part of almost every major tap movie or show that has appeared in the history of tap dance since the 80s. Her accolades include an Astaire Award for Best Performance, the Bessie Award, and the Hoofer Award. She is the founder of Harlem Tap Studio and performs extensively at shows and festivals around the world. She was elected to the Advisory Board of Dance Magazine and nominated the official tap spokesperson for Capezio. Sumbry-Edwards was also Michael Jackson’s private tap instructor for 11 years.

The College’s ATB initiative, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to enhance the role of the arts in every aspect of the Holy Cross experience by infusing the arts into students’ academic lives and creating new opportunities throughout the curriculum and the community to cross cultural, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries. Previous artists-in-residence include environmental artist Patrick Dougherty who created one of his signature Stickwork sculptures on campus with the help of over 300 volunteers in Fall 2016; Troika Ranch, an internationally renowned ensemble that fuses dance, theatre and technology during the Fall of 2015, and Cristina Pato, Galician bagpiper, pianist, and composer, who was in residence on campus during Fall 2014. “SPEAK,” along with the other events scheduled for the Spring ’17 semester, explore this year’s theme “Borders: Tension/Possibility.” Previous performances under this year’s theme include the sold-out coffeehouse opera, “Othello in the Seraglio.”

For additional information, please contact College Marketing and Communications at 508-793-2419.

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