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Arzoo Dance Theatre with Peterborough New Dance presents

Collision/Collusion: Kathak Meets Jazz

May 6, 2007 @ 7PM

Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, 336 George St. N

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Available at the door or in advance by reservation.
Call (705) 745-1788.
$15 – $10 students/seniors/underemployed.

Choreography by Deepti Gupta; Music by Sundar Viswanathan; Film by Lester Alfonso; with dancers Reshmi Chetram, Deepti Gupta, Melissa Kramer, and Kirti Singh

Live music with jazz quintet featuring Rez Abbasi (New York City, guitar)

See a YOUTUBE trailer by Lester Alfonso

Deepti Gupta has been bringing her imaginative explorations of kathak (traditional Indian dance) to appreciative Peterborough audiences for years. The current work explores the lines and spaces of kathak in new forms. Collision/Collusion is a program of four works that explore the lines and spaces of kathak in new forms. It features the collusion of artists working in various media (digital, traditional/classical, film, dance, jazz) and the inevitable collision between cultures.

Highlights of the program are two pieces that evolved out of a series of random, anarchic encounters Ms. Gupta experienced over the years in the streets of Toronto-encounters with the city’s art and artists.
• Mele features original music by Sundar Viswanathan, a jazz saxophonist /composer/music scholar, with lyrics by Tricia Postle, a Toronto poet and medieval music specialist. The score will be played live by a quintet featuring one of modern jazz’s hottest talents, New York City-based guitarist Rez Abbasi, along with Mark Cashion (bass), Ravi Singh (tabla), and vocals by Peterborough singer Tammy Foreman.
• Static is a multi-media work with film by Lester Alfonso (Peterborough) and audio by Matthew Boughner (Hamilton).
Mele and Static are performed by four dancers: Deepti Gupta, Reshmi Chetram, Kirti Singh, Melissa Kramer.

Selected Biographies

ImageDeepti Gupta is a Canadian dancer and choreographer who specialises in kathak, a classical dance of North India. Gupta, who trained with Guru Munna Lal Shukla, is known for pushing the boundaries of this traditional dance in order to establish it in the post-modern world. Born in Meerut, India, Gupta immigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1970. In 2001, she became the founding artistic director of Arzoo Dance Theatre (ADT), based in Toronto. ADT creates and presents contemporary dance theatre works using a variety of dance forms from East and West. Company members train in chhau, a vigorous style of Indian classical dance based on martial arts movement.

Many of ADT’s performances are created in conjunction with a digital media group called the Hijack Collective. Lester Alfonso, a member of the collective, created a video component for Gupta’s multidisciplinary Rubies (2003), ADT’s first major theatrical project. In this quartet, Gupta’s choreography combines the traditional with the modern, with movement based on chhau and modern dance.

Besides appearing in ADT ensembles, Gupta is a solo performer. Among her major solo works is Shakuntala (1994), based on a Sanskrit play. Typically, although rooted in tradition, Shakuntala features a very contemporary voice. Gupta is also a costume designer. She received a 2002 Dora Mavor Moore Award for costume design in the Independent Theatre category for Rasik Arts’ production of Umrao.

Sundar Viswanathan is a saxophonist and jazz vocalist with extensive performance and teaching experience in the U.S. and Canada. He leads his own quintet and has also played with and composed for other ensembles, including the NEC Big Band and Ensemble Uniqua, and with artists such as Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Billy Hart, Jim McNeely, Jeanne Lee, Al Martino and Kenny Wheeler. His professional appearances include the Lincoln Center, the Count Basie Invitational Jazz Festival and leading New York jazz clubs such as the Blue Note, Village Gate and Birdland.

Making New York home for the past 15 years, Rez Abbasi is considered by many to be one of the foremost modern jazz guitar players on today’s scene. He has developed a unique sound both as a composer and an instrumentalist and has honed his skills with performances through out the world including multiple tours in Europe, Canada, the U.S., Mexico and India. With five albums of original compositions under his belt, Abbasi continues to garner new groups of musicians to help his musical vision come to life. His 2005 recording Snake Charmer has created a stir in the music world partly due to his organic, original approach in blending two complex musical genres together, namely jazz and Indian music. 20th Century Guitar reviewed the CD as, “One of the best examples yet of how to merge Indian music with jazz…Snake Charmer really breaks new ground.” In 2006, Rez achieved even greater heights with the follow up to Snake Charmer, Bazaar.

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