Courtyard Dancers, a cultural collective of the South Asian diaspora in Philadelphia presents their latest dance-theater creation: “Unsung Arrivals” on June 22 and 23 at 8:00pm at the Painted Bride Art Center (230 Vine Street). Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for general admission. This evening-length composition uses classical and contemporary Indian dance, and live music and percussion and poetry to explore the ordinary stories of unacknowledged lives—from the nautch girls of India’s past to marginal and empowered women today. “Unsung Arrivals” is conceived and choreographed by Dr. Pallabi Chakravorty (ACG ’10, ’06), a Swarthmore professor, dance anthropologist, dancer and dance-maker known for fusing ethnographic research with her artistic creations. Tickets can be purchased at the Painted Bride’s website.
Live tabla and vocal support are provided by accomplished musicians from Pakistan: Aqeel Bhatti and Joel Rahmat. The musical compositions show the overlapping traditions of North Indian and Pakistani classical music.
The members of Courtyard Dancers are a vibrant and diverse group that embodies the idea of multiplicity. They are engineers, doctors, bankers, lawyers, teachers and students who aspire to preserve the core and expand the boundaries of classical Indian dance, especially the North Indian form Kathak. For them, dancing is a form of critical social engagement—to connect to the traditional arts of India but within a contemporary framework of aesthetics and progressive politics. The Courtyard Dancers aims for artistic excellence by adhering to the precision of classical Indian dance aesthetics but with an open approach to the best of modernity.
Courtyard Dancers is a nonprofit dance company (501(3)(c)) based in Philadelphia. The company has performed in venues throughout the tri-state area and several cities on both coasts. It has received grants from Leeway, Pew, Asian Arts Initiative and others. Visit their website for more information.