June 22-24, 2012
Duniya performs at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival!
Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd, Duniya rocks the Village Stage with Bhangra and Bollywood sets on Saturday and West African dance and music on Sunday. Each set also includes a dance lesson for the audience. We are lucky to be accompanied by great musicians Karamo Cissokho, Moise Bangoura, Moussa Traore, Djamil Diop and Adama Diop.
September 7, 2012
Duniya will be performing at City Hall in San Francisco as part of the Rotunda Series presented by Dancers’ Group and World Arts West. The performance will take place at noon.
Bringing the Bay Area’s most acclaimed dance artists to San Francisco City Hall, the Rotunda Dance Series is thrilled to announce our 2012 season.
Join us for these FREE lunchtime performances amidst the grandeur of City Hall, presented by Dancers’ Group and World Arts West in partnership with San Francisco Grants for the Arts and San Francisco City Hall.
To cultivate respect for traditional forms, foster cultural exchange, effect social justice and engage in community building, Duniya Dance and Drum Company performs and teaches traditional and innovative performance pieces from Guinea, West Africa and Punjab, India. The word duniya means “world” in a wide array of languages, including Punjabi, Arabic, Susu and Wolof. Duniya’s work embodies this word, as it explores the forces that have brought together the members of the company and their dance and drum styles, including, but not limited to, colonization, globalization, immigration, art, dance, music and love.
Here I am, finally writing a blog. It’s not the writing that has kept me from doing this sooner but rather the commitment. So here I will state to my blog: I will do my best not to neglect you, not to put everything and everybody else above you and to always be truthful and sincere.
Duniya has a new Marketing and Communications Intern. Welcome Nitya! Having an intern is some dope stuff. When I asked her what I should write about in my first blog entry, she wanted to know why dance is important to me. Why dance? Why the heck would anyone give up luxury, money, fancy job titles, and above all laziness and give everything to dance? Why dance? My answer, in short: Danceformation.
Dance is transformation. I am in the lucky position to see this on a daily basis. Dance makes a sad kid happy, dance makes an insecure woman feel like the bomb, dance turns violent youth into peaceful dance-makers, it turns ignorance into cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, it makes a dull life suddenly interesting. Dance turns a party you were invited to into a party you stayed at until 3 a.m.
When we created “Half and Halves,” our performance about the Punjabi-Mexican communities of California, as dancers we transformed ourselves into: devastated Punjabi women whose husbands were leaving us to come to America; Mexican and Punjabi farmers laboring in the scorching sun; subdued yet joyous guests at a wedding party; and feisty schoolgirls battling in the playground. The theater transformed from the Brava in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2010 to the Imperial Valley fields in 1906. Some audience members were so moved by the performance that they cried. Many approached me afterwards and told me they were so proud to learn of this history, or that they wanted their Punjabi parents and Mexican friends to see this important show. They were transformed.
On a personal level, I metamorphosized completely, from being insecure about my ability to pull off the show and unclear about my voice as a director and choreographer, to confident with not only my own capability but also my responsibility to do important work. I delved more deeply into compromise (which doesn’t always come easy for me) and collaboration. This experience made me more empathetic, more experimental, and more clear about direction in my career and in my life.
Dance can communicate the beauties and the cracks of the world I live in, and help create the ideal world that I hope to experience. Dance transforms everyone who touches it. So, Nitya, that’s why I dance.
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