How Do I Become is a multidisciplinary performance exploring the relationship between inner struggle and outward action, through a story within a story. Story 1: "How Do I Become: I" follows a group of warriors-in-training who face internal and external adversaries while striving to maintain focus and compassion. At times, a guru-trickster glides in on a scooter to distract or provoke with pithy statements. Nested in that story is Story 2: "How Do I Become We" uses poetic imagery from a Kannada folk tale: a woman’s body grows heavy from unexpressed sadness, until she finally tells her story to a wall. The wall hears her. How will these stories intersect with each other? Perhaps each warrior has an unspoken story that drives them to battle, or perhaps the silent woman must become a warrior to release her tale. Through performance we imagine how the act of telling might release our suffering, but also how it might also activate our collective energies.
Creator/Choreographer/Co-Composer: Parijat Desai
Vocal/Co-Composer: Kiran Ahluwalia
Guitar/Co-Composer: Rez Abbasi
Violin/Co-Composer: Arun Ramamurthy
Percussion and Flute/Co-Composer: Kaoru Watanabe
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.
Kaoru Watanabe is a composer/percussionist. He trained as a jazz flautist and saxophonist, and spent a decade in Japan performing with and eventually directing internationally acclaimed taiko ensemble Kodo. A specialist on Japanese transverse bamboo flutes and percussion, Watanabe has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, and around the world. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, jazz musician Jason Moran, flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena, visual artists Simone Leigh and Alyson Shotz, vocalist Imani Uzuri, and others.
Kiran Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of vocal traditions of India and Pakistan, specializing in ghazal, Punjabi folk, and Indian classical. Her compositions also embrace influences as diverse as West African Blues and contemporary Jazz. She has developed award-winning collaborations, including with legendary Tuareg group, Tinariwen. Kiran has produced seven albums which have brought her to stages internationally. She won two JUNOs, a Songlines Award, and two Canadian Folk Awards, among others.
Arun Ramamurthy is a violinist/composer and disciple of celebrated Carnatic violinists Mysore Nagaraj, Mysore Manjunath, and Ananthakrishnan. He has performed internationally in Carnatic and Hindustani settings, and bridged genres with his own projects. He has performed with Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Sudha Ragunathan, Reggie Workman, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Cary, and others at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Arun is co-founder of Brooklyn Raga Massive, a globally recognized collective of rooted, forward-thinking musicians.
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.
The program's four tracks are Contemporary Art, Film + TV, Performing Arts, and Video Art. Each track offers unique resources designed to meet the needs of varied artistic practices. Residents receive additional financial support, mentorship, skills-based learning opportunities, and documentation of their work. In-progress public programs (virtual and later live) will take place from September 2020 through June of 2021.