The Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as part of its Ovations! series, will present an electrifying collaboration titled Fast Feet: India Jazz Suites. Tapping across the stage on Friday, March 23, 2012, will be Emmy-award winning American tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith and one of India’s foremost Kathak dance masters, Pandit Chitresh Das. They will be joined by two groups of musicians. The performance starts at 8:00 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium of IUP’s Performing Arts Center.
After having first met in 2004 while jamming at the American Dance Festival, child prodigies Das and Smith premiered their collaboration as India Jazz Suites the following year in San Francisco. Individually, Das and Smith are virtuosi in their separate arenas. But together, the innovative and talented common ground of footwork spans from breakneck speeds to slow, highly finessed maneuvers.
For India Jazz Suites, the pair of dancers will be joined by two live groups of musicians. One group will perform American Jazz while the other performs traditional music from India.
Smith, a native New Yorker, has made his mark as a performer, choreographer, and director of tap. Born to professional performing parents, Smith followed and out-stepped their footwork by being awarded an Emmy, an American Choreography Award, and numerous others. He has founded the tap company Anybody Can Get It, as well as the band JaJa Productions. He was also seen as a special guest on television’s So You Think You Can Dance and the Jerry Lewis Telethon for a tribute to Gregory Hines.
Das has become one of the most dynamic and far-reaching artists to emerge from modern India. He has made his mark by exploring the boundaries of Kathak technique and performance, which could be considered a style similar to American tap. Kathak is one of six major classical dances of India and is translated as “the art of storytelling.” Kathak dancers bring to life the great scriptures and epics of ancient India through dance, music, and mime.
Together the combination of Kathak and tap creates a dynamic conversation that uses rhythm, improvisation, and live music that results in a blast of incredible speed and power, grace and beauty, epic storytelling, and the pure joy of dance.
Tickets are available now at the Hadley Union Building by calling 724-35-1313. Tickets are also available online at IUPTickets.com. Tickets cost $23 for regular admission, $18 for senior citizens, and $12 for students and children. Seats remaining will be available at the door starting one hour before the performance.
In addition to the public performance, the dancers will be on hand for the showing of Upaj: Improvise. This film, to be shown on Wednesday, March 21, at 7:00 p.m. in Eberly Auditorium, shows the two dancers as they travel throughout India touring their collaboration. Admission is free and is presented by the Lively Arts’ Ideas and Issues series.
The Ovations! series is produced by the Lively Arts, a program of the IUP College of Fine Arts. Ovations! is funded by the IUP Student Cooperative Association and over forty campus, community, state, regional, and national partners.
March 23, 20128:00 p.m.Fisher Auditorium, Performing Arts Center
An explosive collaboration between two unparalled dancers and their music—jazz/tap and Indian Khatak—this performance is a must for the entire family.
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Fast Feet: India Jazz Suites,