Leela Dance Collective
SPEAK Virtual Residency

Join us online for activities with Leela Dance Collective April 21 through May 1!

The Leela Dance Collective was founded in 2016 by Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas and Seibi Lee, senior disciples of legendary kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, along with leading kathak performers Sarah Morelli and Shefali Jain. It brings together leading kathak artists from around the world representing a multitude of voices to articulate a clairvoyant vision for kathak. Leela’s dancers are joined by two of the country’s leading tap artists, Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia in their project SPEAK.

Throughout their virtual residency, the artists will share about their art, their culture, and their experiences, with hands-on opportunities for all ages and abilities.

 

Tuesday, April 21

Kathak and Tap Master Class

Explore the similarities and differences of the two percussive dance forms featured in SPEAK – tap and kathak – in this class for intermediate and advanced percussive dancers. Dancers will dance barefoot for kathak, and may use tap shoes and tap board or sneakers for tap portions of the class. Registration required.

Click here to register. A link to join the virtual session will be emailed to all registrants in advance of the class.

When:
Tuesday, April 21 • 5 pm

Instructors:
Rachna Nivas and Dormeshia

Wednesday, April 22

A Page in History: Kathak and Tap Unite

While developed centuries and miles apart from each other, American tap and Indian kathak dance have more in common than one might think. At this talk with Leela Dance Collective’s Rina Mehta and Michelle Dorrance, you’ll learn about how these art forms converge through themes of multiculturalism, and how the artists are unpacking patriarchy in their art forms through collective creativity in SPEAK.

When:
Wednesday, April 22 • Noon

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Thursday, April 23

Tap Master Class with Michelle Dorrance (Fast beginner/Intermediate)

A rhythm tap master class for fast beginning and intermediate tap dancers ages 10 and up with Michelle Dorrance. Dancers may use tap shoes and a tap board, or wear sneakers on a hard floor. Registration required.

Click here to register. A link to join the virtual session will be emailed to all registrants in advance of the class.

When:
Thursday, April 23 • 4 pm

Introduction to Kathak Dance

Experience and participate in the centuries old Indian dance form of kathak with the internationally known dancers of Leela Dance Collective. Learn how rhythm, storytelling, music, and movement come together in this percussive dance tradition that has been passed down over generations from master to student. All ability levels are welcome. Registration is required. A recording of the session will be available for those unable make the scheduled time, but registration is required to receive the recording.

Click here to register. A link to join the virtual session will be emailed to all registrants in advance of the class.

When:

Thursday, April 23 • 5 pm

Friday, April 24

The Music of SPEAK

Jazz and Hindustani music are the musical backbones of tap dance and kathak. Join the composers of SPEAK for a lecture demonstration about these two musical traditions, how they converge in the space of improvisation and collective creativity despite being created centuries and miles apart from each other, and how they use the language of rhythm and melody to cross borders and cultural differences in the dynamic musical score for SPEAK.

When:
Friday, April 24 • 1 pm

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Virtual Happy Hour and Tap Jam

Cap off week one of our virtual residency with a casual hangout and tap jam. Tap dancers of all ages are invited to come jam with Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia, and all are invited to gather together online. 

When:
Friday, April 24 • 5:30 pm

Join the Tap Jam

Monday, April 27

Artist Talk: The Guru-Shishya Parampara & the Oral Traditions in Indian Classical Arts

Indian classical arts – both dance and music – have traditionally been passed down orally from teacher (guru) to student (shishya) over the centuries. A learning modality that demands discipline and sacrifices on the part of the student that has yielded masters of the highest caliber. Dancers and musicians alike learn thousands of compositions by memory in a form of training that is unique to each student, ultimately embodying the art and becoming the teachers who pass it down to the next generation. The guru-shishya parampara has many similarities to learning modalities found in the West including the master-apprentice relationship and is, in fact, practiced in the West as well. Join us for a lecture-demonstration with Indian classical artist Rachna Nivas about the guru-shishya parampara, “alternative” methods of teaching, and how she became a musician without even learning to read music.

When:
Monday, April 27 • 3 pm

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Tap Master Class with Dormeshia (Intermediate/Advanced)

A rhythm tap master class for intermediate and advanced dancers with Dormeshia.

Dancers may use tap shoes and a tap board, or wear sneakers on a hard floor.

Click here to register. A link to join the virtual session will be emailed to all registrants in advance of the class.

When:
Monday, April 27 • 5 pm

Rhythm and Movement Workshop

Math and rhythm go hand in hand in kathak. Counting and playing with numbers through footwork and clapping are core to the dance form. Learn to count, clap, and stomp your feet like a kathak dancer. This workshop is geared toward children ages 3+ and their parent/guardian.

Register to receive the module.

When:
This module will be accessible for families to use beginning Monday, April 27.

SPEAK Student "Matinee"

Join the artists of SPEAK for a behind the scenes look at the show designed for school aged students and educators. Interlacing stories and excerpts from the show, you’ll not only witness this sensational collaboration across two cultures, but also hear about how what happened off stage to create the magic. Rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music, and dance come together in this powerful work and evening that will thrill, provoke and move your spirit.

Register to receive the module.

When:
This module will be accessible beginning Monday, April 27.

Tuesday, April 28

Documentary Screening: Upaj: Improvise

Join us for a virtual watch party of UPAJ: Improvise, followed by a Q&A session with the film’s producer. Upaj:Improvise takes us behind the scenes to watch the birth and journey of India Jazz Suites, a phenomenal East-meets-West collaboration featuring Indian kathak master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das and American tap star Jason Samuels Smith. Produced by SPEAK artist Rina Mehta, the film introduces kathak and tap dance through some of its most recognized practitioners in the US. Bridging generational and cultural differences, see how Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith came to a space of collective creativity that has now been taken forward by Leela Dance Collective and the artists of SPEAK.

When:
Tuesday, April 28 • 7:30 pm

Thursday, April 30

Panel: Women in Dance

While women make up the majority in the dance field, it is more common for men to be in positions of power and influence. Join the artists of SPEAK for a discussion on the roles of women in dance and music and how that informed the creation of SPEAK. This panel will be moderated by Ananya Dance Theatre’s Renee Copeland.

When:
Thursday, April 30 • 3 pm

Watch on YouTube

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Introduction to Kathak Dance

Experience and participate in the centuries old Indian dance form of kathak with the internationally known dancers of Leela Dance Collective. Learn how rhythm, storytelling, music, and movement come together in this percussive dance tradition that has been passed down over generations from master to student. The pacing of this workshop is geared towards intermediate and advanced students of all dance backgrounds. Registration is required. A recording of the session will be available for those unable to attend at the scheduled time, but registration is required to receive the recording.

Click here to register.

When:
Thursday, April 30 • 5 pm

Friday, May 1

Virtual Performance Information

SPEAK

Friday, May 1 • 7:30 pm

Join the artists for a behind the scenes look at SPEAK. Interlacing stories and excerpts from the show, you’ll not only witness this sensational collaboration across two cultures, but also hear about how what happened off stage to create the magic. Rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music, and dance come together in this powerful work and evening that will thrill, provoke and move your spirit. A live q&a with the performers will follow the presentation.

Preview

Support these and all of our free community programs with an easy, online donation. Every dollar helps make it possible to bring accessible arts experiences to the Winona community and to ensure artists are paid fair wages that honor their work and experience. 

Clean Water Land and Legacy Minnesota State Arts BoardThis activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

 

NEA logoThis project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


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