How Do I Become WE is a contemporary lok katha, or story enacted inside a participatory ritual. Following an opening ceremony acknowledging our ancestors, a dance drama unfolds: A woman has a story inside, but no one to tell—and her body grows heavy under the weight of her unspoken sadness. How will she release her story? What happens when her inner self comes out, and she shares her burden?
How Do I Become WE explores the relationship between our inner spaces and outward action, between individual and collective well-being, between struggle and magic. This multidisciplinary happening will unfold in a non-proscenium space that allows audiences to change position, and to participate. Choreography, based on a Kannada folk tale collected by noted scholar/poet A. K. Ramanujan, draws on garba (Gujarati/Indian circle dance), bharata natyam, contemporary dance, and influences from martial arts and experimental theater. The music and sound score blends elements of Gujarati, Carnatic, Japanese, and contemporary elements. Choreographer Parijat Desai and her collaborators will use her BRIC residency to develop a draft of the music/sound score for How Do I Become WE.
Creator/Director: Parijat Desai
Guitar/Collaborator: Rez Abbasi
Vocal/Collaborator: Foram Shah
Percussion and Flute/Collaborator: Fumi Tanakadate
Percussion/Collaborator: Philip Mayer
Sarangi/Collaborator: Rohan Misra
Sound Design/Collaborator: Stephan Moore
About the artists
India-born, U.S.-raised Parijat Desai creates hybrids of contemporary, Indian classical and Gujarati folk dance; theater; and other forms to challenge ideas of cultural purity and fear that underlie nationalism and xenophobia. Parijat’s work has been presented internationally at venues including PioneerWorks, Brooklyn; La MaMa, 92Y, and Queens Museum, all NY; Skirball Cultural Center, California Plaza, and J. Paul Getty Center, all Los Angeles; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Denver Art Museum; The Dance Centre, Vancouver; and National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. Parijat received commissions from Danspace Project and Harlem Stage, and was an artist-in-residence with the Gibney Moving Toward Justice Cohort, CUNY Dance Initiative, and Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Parijat won a Lester Horton Dance Award for Performance and Chhaya Arts and Activism Award.
Rez Abbasi is a guitarist and composer based in Harlem, NY. Abbasi’s music as an instrumentalist and composer is a vivid synthesis of classical, jazz, and Indian percussion. He has performed with Ruth Brown, Peter Erskine, Billy Hart, Tim Hagans, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mike Clark, Tony Malaby, George Brooks, Ronu Majumdar, Kadri Gopalnath, and Greg Osby, among others. With fifteen albums of mostly original compositions, Abbasi continues to forge new ground. A recent project is a commission by the New York Guitar Festival to create and perform a live score for the 1929 silent film A Throw of Dice.