This week we welcome Parijat Desai.
An India-born, U.S.-raised dancemaker and educator, Desai is artistic director of Parijata Dance Company. She creates hybrids of contemporary, Indian classical and Gujarati folk dance; theater; and other forms, crossing boundaries of nation, language and identity. Her performances speak in blended languages to express her South Asian American identity and experience, and to challenge ideas of cultural purity and fear that underlie nationalism and xenophobia in the United States and India.
Parijat is a 2021 Artist in Residence with Center for Performance Research, BRIC and Soham Dance Space in Chicago, and is developing a new multidisciplinary performance called How Do I Become WE, which explores the relationship between our interiority and action in the world, between the individual and collective. This year, she will also be a guest choreographer at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Through her program, Dance In The Round, Parijat teaches circle dances from Gujarat, India, facilitating collective dance experiences for people across age, ability, caste, and gender, and supporting community well-being and engagement. She collaborates regularly with Queens-based India Home to provide movement classes for older adults.
Parijat’s work has been presented around the U.S., India, and Canada at venues including La MaMa, PioneerWorks, 92Y, and Queens Museum, J. Paul Getty Center, Asian Art Museum, Denver Art Museum and National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai.
Artist Statement: traversing different paradigms of dancemaking
To create hybrid choreographic works through rigorous experimentation in form and concept. To evolve our traditions of dance, music, and theater in dialogue with experimental approaches to performance. To challenge social and mental constructs that underlie nationalism, xenophobia, and fundamentalism through artistic practices that build bridges across cultural, linguistic, and political boundaries.