￼“The East spoke to the West without using words.
It made you feel nothing else matters as long as we can experience beauty like this. Humanity will triumph in-spite of all the adverse events happening around us.”
- SPEAK Audience Member, 2015
Featuring today’s leading percussive dance artists in a sensational collaboration
￼￼Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration that is rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music and dance. SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde and James Buster Brown, while bringing to the forefront the voices of powerful female artists.
SPEAK is socially relevant, takes risks, and breaks creative barriers. It celebrates unique and contrasting forms of expression, while finding common ground. It emphasizes improvisation as the unifying core rather than choreography. It highlights the vacuum of female artists in these art forms - a climate where well-known masters are still men. Most importantly, SPEAK uncovers how we are unique and how we are one. It is a statement for how we can be global citizens of this world.
These women welcome the collision of their individual genres, using their art as a container for the larger conversation about connection. The reach across the perceived divide engages, entertains and educates.
- Amy Seiwart, Artistic Director, Amy Seiwart Imagery
￼““Speak is a bona fide hit. The quality of the artistry and the production is top notch. Audiences flocked to the performances and continue to rave weeks later. Z Space is proud to have been part of Speak’s debut.”
- Lori Laqua, Executive Director, Z Space
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
A charismatic performer, mentor to many, and a powerful leader amongst today’s generation of Indian classical artists, Rachna brings a contemporary voice to Kathak. Deemed “revelatory” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Rachna 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. www.rachnanivas.com
Rina Mehta, founder and Artistic Director of The Leela Institute, is one of the most powerful Kathak artists of her generation. She is a senior disciple of the late Kathak icon, Pandit Chitresh Das and has performed to great acclaim across the United States 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 twice been nominated for an Isodara Duncan Dance Award as a part of CDDC. She is a pioneer and strong leader amongst her generation, taking Kathak forward and carving a place for the ancient art form in modern times. www.rinamehtakathak.com
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 80’s. Accolades include an Astaire Award for Best Performance, the Bessie Award, and the Hoofer Award. She is 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. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards was also Michael Jackson’s private tap instructor for eleven years. Dormeshia is revered as one of the most dynamic performers in the industry today. www.divinerhythmproductions.com/DormeshiaSumbryEdwards.html
Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance, is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her genera- tion and “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker). A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, 2014 Alpert Award Winner, and 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Winner, Michelle performs, teaches and choreographs throughout the world. www.michelledorrance.com
Jayanta Banerjee Sitar / Allison Miller Drums
￼￼￼￼￼"The talent showcased by each performer is beyond comprehension. Their dedication, passion and deep love for the art that transcends all boundaries could be clearly seen in every segment. I wish to see more such acts." - Ena Sarkar, CEO, WomenNowTV
￼￼￼￼Photo Credits: Margo Moritz; Courtesy Divine Rhythm Productions