Sandra Chatterjee (PhD, UCLA) choreographic and scholarly work is situated at the intersection of theory and practice deals with performance, dance, and the body with a focus on gender, postcolonial and migration studies. She is a co-founder of the Post Natyam Collective, an internet-based network of choreographers/scholars, working in live performance, video, and scholarship. In her current research, recent publications, talks, and lecture performances she has been critically interrogating the aesthetic category of the “contemporary” in the context of concert dance in central and northern continental Europe and analyzes selected choreographic articulations between European and Indian dance( (2012- 2016 as postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Art, Music and Dance studies, University of Salzburg). Additional (research) interests include (artistic) collaboration, and the possible intersection of artistic practice, civil engagement and claiming cultural and artistic citizenship. In collaboration with Siglinde Lang she is currently co-organizing the Festival 7hoch2 in Salzburg, which is conceptualized at the intersection of civil engagement and art. Sandra has been teaching a wide range of interdisciplinary classes ranging from dance studies, dance practice, gender studies to participatory art, comparative cultural studies and discourse analysis at universities including UCLA (Department of World Arts and Cultures); University of Salzburg; Kunstuniversität Linz; and University Mozarteum. Her work has been presented in dance and academic venues such as Tanzkongress 2016 (Hannover); Tanzhaus NRW (Düsseldorf); National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi); Chandra-Mandapa: Spaces (Chennai); The Park’s New Festival (Chennai); The Other Festival (Chennai); Highways Performance Space (Los Angeles); University of Toronto; Nehru Centre (London). She was co-initiator and co-organizer of ArtSensation (2006) and Integrier-Bar, Munich (2011-2013). www.sandrachatterjee.net
Cynthia Ling Lee is an interdisciplinary performance troublemaker whose choreography and scholarship instigate decolonial, queer, and feminist-of-color interventions in the field of experimental South Asian performance. Trained in US postmodern dance and North Indian classical kathak, Cynthia is committed to ethical, intimate collaborations and foregrounding marginalized voices and aesthetics. Her performance work has been presented at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop (New York), Asia Society (New York), National Asian American Theater Festival (Los Angeles), Painted Bride Arts Center (Philadelphia), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Taman Ismail Marzuki (Jakarta), Kuandu Arts Festival (Taipei), IGNITE! Festival of Contemporary Dance (New Delhi), and Chandra-Mandapa: Spaces (Chennai). Recent publications include co-written articles with Sandra Chatterjee in Feminist Media: Participatory Spaces, Networks and Cultural Citizenship, Studies in South Asian Film and Media, and Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance. Cynthia’s artistic partners-in-crime include the Post Natyam Collective; director/dramaturg Alison De La Cruz; musicians David Cutler (jazz/new music), Ravindra Deo (Hindustani), and Loren Nerell (Indonesian/electronic); and visual artists YaYa Chou (sculptural installation), Carole Kim (multimedia installation), and Adnan Hussain (animation). Cynthia was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Exchange Fellowship, a Swarthmore Project Residency, a Taipei Artist Village Residency, two Santa Monica Individual Artist Fellowships, and two ARC grants. Influential teachers and mentors include Simone Forti, Eiko & Koma, Judy Mitoma, Pallabi Chakravorty, Bandana Sen, Kumudini Lakhia, Anjani Ambegaokar, and the contact improvisation community. Cynthia is a board member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA, and is assistant professor of theatre arts at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is currently performing her latest solo work, blood run, which investigates her Han colonizer and Taiwanese indigenous heritages in the context of larger political histories. www.cynthialinglee.com
Shyamala Moorty is a choreographer, interdisciplinary performance artist, director and facilitator who is dedicated to healing, connecting, and transforming individuals and communities. Her interdisciplinary performance work draws on contemporary Indian dance, theater, multimedia, and community engagement. A founding member of the Post Natyam Collective, she has toured in their collaborative shows “Meet the Goddess” and “Sunoh! Tell Me, Sister” in Europe, India, and the U.S. She also is a CORE artist with TeAda Productions where she has created two seminal solo shows: RISE, which is featured in the book Desi Divas:Political Activism in South Asian American Cultural Performances by Chris Garlough (2013); and Carrie’s Web, which is featured in the book Contemporary Indian Dance by Ketu Katrak (2011). As a director, Shyamala has had the opportunity to guide several artists in creating their own solo shows and was program director of Pop-Up TeAda where she helped restaurant workers and trans individuals voice their stories throughout Los Angeles. A member of the Los Angeles based collective, Desijam, she has also performed as an ensemble member with Great Leap, Malathi Iyengar’s Rangoli Foundation, as a soloist and principal dancer for the Aman International Folk Ensemble. Shyamala holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures and is trained in A Window Between Worlds’ healing arts curriculum, as well as in yoga and pilates. She teaches at several community colleges and facilitates healing through the arts workshops in the community. As a part of the Dancing Storytellers, Shyamala also performs an original show, Indian Mythology and Me, with the Music Center on Tour and the Segerstrom Center for the Performing arts with Sheetal Gandhi and Ulka Simone Mohanty. Shyamala has been honored to receive two ARC grants from the Durfee Foundation and the Center for Cultural Innovation and two Professional Artist Fellowships from the Long Beach Arts Council.
Meena Murugesan creates experimental multimedia narratives at the intersection of dance, video art, and social justice. Rooted in the movement practices of bharata natyam, improvisation, somatic bodywork, and house dance, Meena centers ritual funk, Tamil folk, non-vedic, non-brahmin, melanated consciousness as an activist and creative practice. Formative movement teachers include Vasantha Krishnan, Josefina Baez, Zab Maboungou, Marie-Claude Rodrigue, Natasha Bakht, Michael Greyeyes, and Dazl. Since 2002, Meena has been awarded arts funding from agencies such as SODEC (Société de développment des entreprises culturelles), CALQ (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec), CAC (Canada Arts Council), MAI (Montréal, arts, interculturels), UCLA, and Margaret Jenkin’s CHIME program. Meena holds a Master’s in Fine Arts in choreography from the World Arts and Cultures/Dance department at UCLA (2014), and since being in LA has worked with choreographers taisha pagget, d. Sabela grimes, Anusha Kedhar, Shyamala Moorty, Sheetal Gandhi, Laurel Tendindo, and Emily Beattie. Meena is currently developing and presenting a new performance piece, KARUPPU (co-choreographed with d. Sabela grimes), and working as video art projectionist for ELECTROGYNOUS (directed by d. Sabela grimes) and other live performance. As an arts educator with over fifteen years of experience, Meena facilitates filmmaking and movement processes with racialized youth and criminalized communities as collaborative acts that hope to unpack stereotypes, stigma, and systems of oppression. www.meenamurugesan.com
Sangita Shresthova is the Director of the MacArthur funded Henry Jenkins’ Media, Activism & Participatory Politics (MAPP) project based at the University of Southern California. MAPP focuses on civic participation in the digital age and includes research, educator outreach, and partnerships with community groups and media organizations, and companies. Sangita’s own scholarly work focuses on the intersections among popular culture, performance, new media, politics, and globalization. She holds a Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Her more recent research has focused on issues of storytelling and surveillance among American Muslim youth and the achievements and challenges faced by Invisible Children pre-and-post Kony2012. She is also one of the authors on By Any Media Necessary: The New Activism of Youth, a forthcoming book published by NYU Press in May 2016. Her earlier book on Bollywood dance and globalization (Is It All About Hips?) was published by SAGE Publications in 2011. Drawing on her background in dance and new media, Sangita is also the founder of Bollynatyam (bollynatyam.com), a global Bollywood dance Project, and continues to explore Bollywood dance through this platform. Sangita’s creative work has been presented in academic and creative venues around the world including the Schaubuehne (Berlin), AIGA Boston/ATE Massaging Media Conference (Boston), the Other Festival (Chennai), the EBS International Documentary Festival (Seoul), the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), and Akademi’s Frame by Frame (London, UK). Dancing Kathmandu, her documentary on the cultural marginalization of dancers in Nepal, was a curtain raiser at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival in 2007.A Czech-Nepalese child of the final years of the Cold War, Sangita grew up between Prague and Kathmandu. Her early childhood was shaped by hostile visa policies and travel restrictions. In what could be seen as a reaction to this restrictive experience, she has since taken the opportunity to call many cities home (among them Brussels, London, Kandy, Ahmedabad, Berlin). She relishes any opportunity to draw on her mixed race/cultural chameleon-like background and routinely keeps track of multiple times zones. She is still most comfortable when her carry-on is packed and believes home is simply a place where there is someone waiting for you; right now that is Los Angeles.
Anjali Tata is an artist and educator of Bharata Natyam and Contemporary Indian dance. From 2005-2013, she was a co-founding member of Post Natyam Dance Collective (www.postnatyam.net), a transnational network of independent choreographers/scholars, who are actively working on finding new ways of engaging with South Asian aesthetics. Tata holds an M.F.A. in Dance from UCLA’s Dept. of World Arts & Cultures and is also an educator and student of Yoga and Mind/Body fundamentals. Her training includes over twenty two years of Bharata Natyam experience under the tutelage of her mentor Viji Prakash and over ten years training in Yoga and Modern dance. She performed her Arangetram /solo dance debut in 1990 and after touring as principal dancer with Prakash’s Shakti Dance Company across the U.S., Canada, and India from 1992-96, she began choreographing in both traditional and contemporary genres. She has performed and presented her works at prestigious venues both Nationally and Internationally and has been teaching in Kansas since 2004. She has presented 3 students in their completion of Arangetrams in 2013 and 2104.