Facing East – a celebration of Indian music and dance in Philadelphia

facing east

Facing East launches in September, amongst the FringeArts frenzy,  as a new dance festival in Philadelphia which celebrates the richness and diversity of Indian dance and music.  It is being presented by Courtyard Dancers on September 18th & 19th at 8pm at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia.  In addition, the festival is being viewed as an “imagined collective prayer and protest that can unite us against violence”.   Courtyard Dancers, artistic director, Pallabi Chakravorty sees it as an opportunity to “move together to create something moving”.

Facing East seeks to bring together a diverse group of dancers, musicians, and choreographers, who live and create work in Philadelphia and its surrounding regions.  It includes performances of a variety of genres of Indian music and dance, including Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Sattriya, Carnatic violin, and Tabla.  The festival seeks to bring these varying practices of Indian music and dance together to create something entirely new and beautiful when presented in unison.  Chakravorty goes on to add, “through our arts, we want to highlight the plurality of Indian traditions and their contemporary expressions.  Most importantly, the Facing East Festival is also a celebration of the robust richness of the local artists in Philadelphia who continue to pursue their art outside the mainstream culture.”

Courtyard Dancers is a nonprofit dance company based in Philadelphia. The company is led by Dr.Pallabi Chakravorty, a dance artist, anthropologist, and a full time faculty member in the department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College. Courtyard Dancers as a dance collective envisions creating a center for the Indian diaspora and non-Indians to engage with the study and dissemination of Indian performances. The ensemble is a vibrant diverse group of engineers, scientists, teachers and students who together aspire to preserve and push the limits of classical Indian dance. Dancing for them is a form of civic engagement to connect to the traditional arts of India but within a contemporary framework of aesthetics and progressive politics. Courtyard Dancers produces high quality technical works to reach out to a diverse community in Philadelphia and the greater Philadelphia area. They are interested in creating awareness and issues surrounding art and culture that stem from India but circulate the globe. Courtyard Dancers also sponsors classes on dance and empowerment for underprivileged children in a semi-urban area called Subhasgram in Kolkata, India

Festival Schedule

Friday, Sept 18
Sattariya Dance Company, Madhusmita Bora- Sattriya
, Treeaksha, Viji Rao- Bharatanatyam, 
Amanda Weidman- Carnatic Violin, 
Courtyard Dancers, Pallabi Chakravorty- Kathak

Saturday, Sept 19
Sakhshi Production, Nandini Sikand –Odissi,Aqeel Bhatti- Tabla,
Usiloquy, Shaily Dadiala – Bharatanatyam, 
Courtyard Dancers, Pallabi Chakravorty- Kathak

Facing East
September 18 & 19 at 8PM
Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tickets: $20 online at https://paintedbride.org/events/facingeast/

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