• By Mabel Pais

The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) presents the 2023 Erasing Borders Dance Festival (EBDF), September 23-24 in person and September 25 in person and online.


Saturday, Sept 23, 2023 | 6 PM, Ailey Citigroup Theater

Ganesh Stuti dance by Jiva Performing Arts school

Vivek, Aarthy, Surya.
Prarthana and Amuktha. (Photos : Courtesy,


Amuktha Samudrala and Prarthana Prashanth/choreographed by Hema Rajagopalan: Bharatanatyam

Vivek Ramanan, Aarthy Sundar, Surya Ravi: Bharatanatyam

Malavika Sarukkai in Bharatanatyam

Ganesh Stuti: Jiva Performing Arts

Jiva Performing Arts was created in 2007 by the celebrated artistic couple, Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer, Sonali Skandan and Carnatic musician/composer, Bala Skandan. Jiva’s mission is to develop and present new voices in the classical arts of India and increase appreciation and accessibility of these timeless arts for all communities.

Amuktha Samudrala and Prarthana Prashanth/Choreographed by Hema Rajagopalan: Bharatanatyam

Search Within

For centuries, ancient texts and great sages have expressed that divine spirit exists in sentient and non-sentient beings. As we expand our knowledge and realize the beauty of form – the inherent rhythms of nature resonating around us – our minds turn inwards experiencing bliss. Inspired by the interconnectedness of this macrocosm, this Bharatanatyam duet blends traditional adavus (basic dance steps) with abstract new movements, interpolating rhythmic passages with intentional moments of silence… telling the story of a soul’s search within.

Vivek Ramanan, Aarthy Sundar, Surya Ravi: Bharatanatyam

Vazhi – On Different Paths.

Some of the most important catalysts of the Ramayana epic are the siblings of Ravana: Shoorpanaka, Vibhishana, and Kumbakarna. We explore the lives of these 3 siblings in the context of one another, as a family, as a set of children in the shadow of Ravana, as three individuals struggling not only over their own lives, but in their shared moments and impact on one another.

Malavika Sarukkai in Bharatanatyam

Kala – Time

Concept & Choreography | Malavika Sarukkai

Music Production & Sound Design | Sai Shravanam

Technical Director & Light Design | Niranjan Gokhale

“In order to understand the dance – one must be still, And in order to truly understand stillness – one must dance.” Rumi, 13th Century CE

Kala – Time is fundamental to our lives. In the cyclical play of seasons, time is seen as a recurring motif of life and rejuvenation. In the performing arts from the Indian subcontinent, time is seen as measured in metrical cycles.

Sunday, Sept 24, 2023 | 2 PM

Dance workshop by Malavika Sarukkai

Vivarta Arts.
Project Convergence.
Shivani Badgi group. (Photos : Courtesy,
Malavika Sarukkai. (Photos : Courtesy,

Sunday, Sept 24, 2023 | 6 PM, Ailey Citigroup Theater 

Vivarta Arts Welcome Dance

Navia Natarajan: Bharatanatyam

Shivani Badgi and Group: Lavani

Sonali Loomba and Nidhika Loomba: Kathak

Manish Chauhan: Contemporary

Project Convergence/Vikas Arun and Group

Vivarta Arts, NYC-based, promotes Indian classical dance and music through innovative productions. Its aim is to democratize these art forms while honoring their traditions. Artistic Director Preya Patel, a Kathak dancer mentored by Gurus Jamuna Mitcham and Vaishali Trivedi, brings rich experience.

Navia Natarajan: Bharatanatyam

विरोधाभास | Virodhābhāsa: (Investigating the Profound Nature of Paradox)

“Form is Emptiness. Emptiness is Form,” says the Buddhist Heart Sutra speaking of the paradox that lies at the core of all phenomena. Indeed, the world we inhabit is itself a paradox for it is both real and an appearance: Maya. And so, to better appreciate this world, one needs to look more deeply at what seems like opposites or contradictions.

Shivani Badgi and Group: Lavani 

Shringarik Lavani – Love through the art of Lavani

Shringarik Lavani takes a traditional Indian folk style from the state of Maharashtra into a wonderful harmony of music, poetry, rhythm, and love. Enjoy the beats of the Dholak matched with the sound of ghungroo as you are serenaded in songs and poems of love. Dressed in Nauvari sarees (9-yard saree), Lavani will entice you back to the rule of Shivaji Maharaj. Through Baithakichi Lavani (sitting dance) and Tamasha (grand show), listen to her regale stories of lovers’ past, in joy and sadness.

Sonali Loomba and Nidhika Loomba: Kathak

Anhad – Limitless love

Love, the voice says -total and pure love is the only path to divine power.

Anhad – Limitless love is her desire, and with that, she takes her first step forward into a journey new and unknown. Through poems of Rumi, mysticism of Sufi traditions along with classical Indian dance (Kathak), the artists explore this soul-searching journey that knows no boundaries. The music and choreography are conceptualized keeping in mind the traditions of Kathak and Sufism.

Manish Chauhan: Contemporary


The dance, which is choreographed in a contemporary style with hints of Indian traditional movements, was inspired by the song ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ (from the film ‘Shree 420’). The title depicts the idea behind the piece, which is a journey of a lone traveler, real, symbolic or abstract as it may be.

Project Convergence

Project Convergence is a dance company that is home to the union of Bharatanatyam and Tap Dance. The purpose of the company is to create a polyrhythm of cultures, thereby showing that two cultures can be united without having to erase the distinct identity of either. Conceived in 2019 by Vikas Arun and Ramita Ravi, and co-directed by Apoorva Natarajan, the vocabulary draws on their unusually extensive training in both classic and modern Indian and Western dance.

Monday, Sept 25, 2023

11 AM – 12:25 PM

Prof Uttara Coorlawala and dance artists Panel Discussion at Barnard College/Columbia University

Walk-in event, open to the public at Barnard College. 11:00AM-12:55PM, 409 Barnard Hall

6 – 8 PM

Dr. Sunil Kothari Memorial Lecture with Padma Shri Malavika Sarukkai organized by IAAC and New York Public Library (Live)

Location: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Centre Plaza, New York, NY 10023

Online Virtual performance on IAAC Youtube and Facebook

Monday, Sept 25, 2023 | 7 PM

Online Virtual performance on IAAC Youtube and Facebook

Prachi Saathi: Bharatanatyam

Pritam Das: Bharatanatyam

Hridya Haridas: Mohiniyattam

Krishnakshi Kashyap and Group: Sattriya

Urja Desai Thakore: Kathak

Prachi Sathi: Bharatanatyam

When Walls Dance

‘When Walls Dance’ is a unique live performance that brings together the classical dance form of Bharata Natyam, Animation & tribal Warli art together to tell the story of a little girl Champa and her beloved tree. It is a jugalbandi (duet) of different artistic practices across different storytelling media to trigger urgent and important conversations about our relationship with ourselves and our surroundings.

Pritam Das: Bharatanatyam


In this work Pritam Das narrates the story of when he was a four-year-old boy from a small Bengal village who fell hopelessly in love with dance. This bold and unabashed declaration of love resulted in his loving mother holding his hand tightly to enroll him in Bharatanatyam dance classes.

Hridya Haridas: Mohiniyattam


Amba was a princess who enjoyed great happiness as a princess and daughter of the King of Kasi, alongside her sisters Ambika and Ambalika. In her youth she fell in love with King Salwa from a neighboring kingdom. However, due to a turn of fate, she was abducted by the patriarch of Hastinapura, Bheeshma, for his nephew. When both men reject her, she feels let down by the standards set by society. She realizes that she is unable to achieve anything as a ‘hopeless woman’.

Krishnakshi Kashyap and Group: Sattriya

Prokriti- A saga of mother Earth

Prokriti- A saga of mother Earth, revolves around the depiction of the beauty of nature and the need for awareness about environmental exploitation and the need for human action.

Urja Desai Thakore: Kathak

Kabir and I

A short dance-theatre work where the protagonist finds solace in Kabir’s poetry while confronting the loss of a family matriarch. The narrative follows their questioning of the significance of life’s pursuits, the purpose of celebration and mourning, and the existence of God.

For more information on EBDF’s each day’s events, curator bios and more, visit

The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC)

The INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL organization is passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of the arts and artists whose heritage lies in India in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For more information,  visit

(Mabel Pais writes on The Arts and Entertainment, Social Issues, Spirituality, Education, Cuisine, Health & Wellness, and Business)

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