SUN TO STARS FESTIVAL OF MUSIC, DANCE & CULTURE
Sun To Stars returns to Solar One on Saturday August 24, 2013 from 2:00-7:00pm with a program of music and dance from South Asia and beyond. Rain date is Sunday August 25.
2:00-3:30pm: For Kids
2:00-2:30pm- Student performance: Bharatanatyam and Kathak dance
2:30-3:00pm- Lecture/demonstration by Odissi dancer Sonali Mishra
2:00-3:30pm- Arts & crafts with Aoife Pacheco
Work collaboratively to create an auspicious image of Ganesha.
Learn the Himalayan craft of felting! Wind up a ball of yarn and wrap it with colorful wool.
Use the power of the sun’s rays to create an awesome print!
Clay Growing Creatures:
Sculpt a clay creature then cover it in seeds. Plant it in nature and watch it grow!
3:30-7:00pm: Music & Dance
3:30-4:00pm- Parul Shah Dance Compnay
4:10-4:40- Nitin Mitta, Jay Gandhi & Max ZT
4:50-5:20- Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima o Nūioka: Hawaiian dance
5:30-6:30pm- Rani Khanam
About the Artists
A truly outstanding young disciple of the world renowned bansuri maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, JAY GANDHI (www.jaygandhi.com) initially trained in vocal music under Smt. Kum Kum Sanyal and later bansuri under Pt. Ronu Majumdar, Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao and Pt. Raghunath Seth. Inspired to gain deeper knowledge of both the gayaki ang (vocal style) as well as the tantrakari ang (stringed instrument style), Jay has also taken guidance from Pt Vidyadhar Vyas (vocal) and Pt. Nayan Ghosh (sitar, tabla). He is truly blessed to have been studying under the living legend of the bansuri, Padma Vibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, at Brindavan Gurukul in Mumbai since 2006.
His musical pursuits are not limited to that of the Indian sub‑continent; he has great love for the music of the African diaspora and “America’s classical music” ‑ Jazz, as well. In 2004, he completed an Individual Major in Jazz Performance at Oberlin College/Conservatory of Music (Ohio), studying privately under such Jazz luminaries as the saxophonist Gary Bartz and trumpetist Marcus Belgrave.
A recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Performing Arts Fellowship, Jay has already been invited to perform across the globe, enthralling audiences in India, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America. He currently splits his time between the USA and India and is very active as both a
teacher and performer.
RANI KHANAM (www.ranikhanam.com) is one of the most sensitive and astute interpreters of Lucknow Gharana of Kathak today. She has earned great prestige for her dexterity, subtle footwork and rhythmic patterns. With her immense talent, a total belief in herself and the courage to follow her intuition, her style reflects deep comprehension of the dance tradition which has set new dimensions and source of inspirations to younger generation of the time.
A powerful and imaginative dancer, Rani Khanam displays a breathtaking technique in both pure dance and in the art of abhinaya; she is a highly respected Kathak dancer and choreographer today and has also become the first dancer to perform choreography based on Islamic verses.
Rani Khanam has been honored for her courageous and pioneering work with such awards as the 5th National Women’s Excellence Award – 2012, the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship: “World Dance and Islamic Culture”, the Govt. of India’s Fellowship and the India Foundation’s award for Outstanding Kathak dancer. She is the Director of the Aamad Kathak Dance Center in Delhi. A respected Guru, Rani Khanam has cultivated and groomed some of the finest Kathak dancers in India & abroad.
Rani Khanam has promoted Indian classical dance among the youth through performances, lecture demonstrations & workshops throughout India in many educational institutions, colleges & schools under the auspices of Spic Macay, I.C.C.R. Sangeet Natak Academy, IIRCC.
For the past two decades, Rani Khanam has performed regularly at reputed national and international festivals. Her tours abroad have covered major festivals such as Festivals of India in the USA and USSR, the Tropical dance festival in The Netherlands, ‘Sound of Spell’ at Royal Festival Hall and Salam Festival in London, the Islamic Art Museum dance festival in Malaysia, Forde International Festival in Sweden and Norway, Indian Republic Day celebrations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and many others program in England, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Oman, Algeria and Sri Lanka.
SONALI MISHRA (www.anandaashram.org/SonaliMishra) began her training in Odissi under Smt. Chitralekha, Smt. Ellora, and Sri Devraj Patnaik in Toronto. Since 1995, she has been travelling regularly to Orissa, India for further study and refinement. Sonali initially trained with Gurus Sri Bichitrananda Swain and Sri Ramesh Chandra Jena, with additional guidance from Smt. Aruna Mohanty. Her desire to further understand the intricacies of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana led her to Srjan, where she has been undergoing rigorous training with Smt. Sujata Mohapatra, while being guided by Guru Sri Ratikant Mohapatra.
Sonali has performed as a soloist in numerous venues and festivals in the US, Canada, India, the UK, and Malaysia to include: the National Festival of Odissi Dance, the Millenium India Festival, Gateway to India, Stirring Odissi Festival, Brooklyn Folk Feet Festival, International Odissi Festival, and the Heritage India Festival. She has also participated in a number of group ensembles/programs to include: Nrityabharti’s 10th Annual Dance Festival in Ahmedabad (with Smt. Sujata Mohapatra and group), NY-based Trinayan Dance Theater’s “Swaha: Rituals of Union” presented at the New York International Fringe Festival, and Toronto-based Menaka Thakkar Dance Company’s “Gita Govinda,” where she has participated in four tours. Her solo choreographic work, “JIban Jaatra” was presented at Chicago-based Kalapriya’s “Flights” Festival in 2010.
She has also conducted a number of workshops and lecture demonstrations for universities, festivals, and arts organizations throughout the US. She has also written about dance and dance-related issues for various publications. Sonali relocated to Bhubaneswar from New York in 2011, where she continues to train and perform.
NITIN MITTA (www.nitinmitta.com) is one of the most accomplished and distinctive tabla players of his generation, with a reputation for technical virtuosity, spontaneity, clarity of tone, and sensitivity to melodic nuances.
Apart from being a dynamic soloist, he is a highly sought after accompanist who has performed with some of India’s most celebrated Hindustani classical musicians, including Pandit Jasraj, Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Pandit Janardan Mitta, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ustad Shahid Parvez and Pandit Tejendra Nayaran Majumdar as well as many Carnatic musicians, such as Lalgudi G.J.R Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Dr. Mysore Manjunath.
Nitin has also made a mark as a versatile collaborator in other spheres. He joined forces with 2010 Grammy Nominee Pianist Vijay Iyer and electric guitarist R. Prasanna to produce a studio album titled Tirtha that blends elements of contemporary jazz with the North and South Indian traditional ragas and compositions. Another collaboration with R. Prasanna can be heard on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning documentary Smile Pinky. He has also performed and toured with singer and Juno Award nominee Kiran Ahluwalia.
Born in Hyderabad, Nitin received his early training in Hyderabad from Pandit G. Satyanarayana. Blessed with raw talent, he gave his first solo tabla performance at the age of ten. During his studies he won many accolades, including first prize in the All India Competition held in Calcutta. To expand his repertoire of tabla compositions, he sought the guidance of Pandit Arvind Mulgaonkar of Mumbai, one of the most highly respected mentors of his generation. Both of Nitin’s gurus are disciples of the late Ustad Amir Hussain Khan Saheb, legendary doyen of the Farukhabad Gharana.
Nitin received a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on Arts. He has busy schedule of performances and tabla workshops, traveling throughout the U.S, Europe, Canada and India. He has performed at several prominent venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Weill recital Hall/Carnegie Hall, the UCLA Royce Hall, the Indian consulate in New York, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C, the Music Academy in Chennai, and the Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
PUA ALIʻI ʻLLIMA O NUIOKA (www.paifoundation.org/halau/pua-alii-ilima/) is the New York City extension of Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima, the hālau hula (school of traditional Hawaiian dance) founded by Vicky Holt Takamine in 1977. The hālau was named by Vickyʻs kumu hula, Maiki Aiu Lake, and means Royal ʻIlima Blossom alluding to her graduation from Maikiʻs Papa ʻIlima, the “ilima class, and as a descendant from Hawaiian royalty. Pua Aliʻi o Nūioka has performed at the Prince Lot Festival in Honolulu, HI; the La MaMa Moves Festival, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, and various New York City venues.
Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine graduated as kumu hula through the ‘ūniki rituals of hula from Maiki Aiu lake in August, 1975. She is also the founder and kumu hula of Papa Lauaʻe o Makana on Kauaʻi island and Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima o Nūioka in New York City. Vicky received her BA and MA in Dance Ethnology from the University of Hawaiʻi. She is a lecturer teaching hula at the University of Hawaiʻi Music Department. She is the co-founder and executive director of PAʻI Foundation, an arts and culture organization that was established to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations.
AOIFE PACHECO (www.parkslopepottery.com) grew up in Brooklyn in a house full of crafting supplies. She has many skills people used 100 years ago. She loves working with her hands, learning new trades, and being with her daughter. She runs Park Slope Pottery studio and loves to teach people how to make things for themselves. Aoife still lives in Brooklyn with her family and close to all of her favorite people.
THE PARUL SHAH DANCE COMPANY (www.kathakdance.com) is a NY based North Indian Classical and contemporary dance company. Shah’s work builds upon the dance form’s mythological storytelling roots to explore bold, contemporary narratives. Her work strives to create understanding, empathy, and relationships between audience and performer. While preserving the emotive quality unique to Indian classical dance, Shah applies present experiences to tell stories that are her own. Drawing on the classical sources, Shah creates compelling movement vocabulary expressing the dynamic and often paradoxical nature of contemporary life.
Parul’s New York studio is home to both the parul shah dance company and her training facility. With an M.A. in dance from Columbia University, Teachers College, Parul has been teaching Kathak in the pure form for over 15 years. She has presented her solo and group works at major venues around the world, including City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, Asia Society in New York, Jacobs Pillow in M.A and at the Japan Forum Foundation in Japan. She has collaborated on numerous international projects and presented in Asia, Europe, and North America. For more information or performance schedule, go to www.kathakdance.com.
PARUL SHAH (Festival Curator) is a Kathak dancer and choreographer whose work is expanding the classical medium beyond cultural boundaries. Trained under Smt. Kumudini Lakhia, Parul’s work includes traditional solo pieces alongside contemporary choreographies. With an M.A. in dance education from Columbia University, Parul has been teaching for over 12 years. She has presented her solo and group works at major venues, including City Center’s first Fall for Dance Festival in New York, the Kennedy Center, DNA, and Jacob’s Pillow.
Max ZT (www.maxzt.com) has shared the stage with some of the most influential international and national musical leaders of the century including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Jon Bon Jovi, Karsh Kale, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Tinariwen, Jimmy Cliff, and more. With his eighth record released, he is, as Timeout NY states “A sight to behold.”
Max ZT is based out of Brooklyn, New York, and in 2005, won the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. He’s recorded with a vast array of artists across musical genres, ranging from Victor Wooten, to The Goo Goo Dolls, to 2012 American Idol Phil Phillips, to Of Montreal.
About Sun To Stars
Inspired by the traditional all-night concerts along India’s Ganges River, Sun to Stars evokes the traditional durbar and bethak-style concerts where performers and audiences interact in an informal setting to create an intimate artistic experience. With a backdrop defined by both natural and urban elements, the performers present work that grapples with the environment, be it through mythological folktales or a particular raga connected to nature.
This highly unique program is a highlight of the Green Energy Arts Festival. Sun To Stars evokes long, steamy nights relaxing by the Ganges River, because it takes place on a similar, typically steamy New York City summer day and night as attendees relax along the East River. Entire families often attend with everyone from toddlers through grandparents enjoying the show. Attendees enjoy the relaxed celebration as the stars rise in the night sky.
The Sun to Stars festival is solar-powered by the energy collected by the photovoltaic panels on the Solar 1 roof. The all-day event opens with a program for children to learn about Asian dance, music and mythology, watch youth performances and engage in activities like kite-flying, decorating clay pots and learning to wrap saris. The picnic-like riverside setting is scattered with cushions, rugs, and chairs for Indian-style seating. Local chefs sell Asian cuisine and snacks. There are tables with information about important local and environmental nonprofit organizations.
Click here for a full list of performers from past years, and visit the media page for more pictures and videos from Sun To Stars .
Free to the public, Sun to Stars is curated by Parul Shah, a NYC-based Kathak choreographer. Sun To Stars is the brainchild of Solar One Founding Artistic Director Tamar Rogoff, who spent several years living and studying dance in India, and continues to provide guidance. The Festival draws a diverse crowd, including New York’s large South Asian community, local residents, music and dance enthusiasts of all kinds, activists, families, and college students.