India-born, U.S.-raised dance artist Parijat Desai creates hybrids of contemporary, Indian classical and Gujarati folk dance; theater; and other forms to articulate a South Asian American experience through the body, and to challenge ideas of cultural purity and past greatness underlie nationalism and xenophobia in the U.S. and India. Parijat also leads Dance In The Round, sharing circle dances from Gujarat, India. By reframing these ancestral dance practices as participatory movement spaces for people across age, ability, caste, and gender, she seeks to support community well-being and engagement. Parijat began Parijata Dance Company in 2000 in Los Angeles, and has been based in New York City since 2004. She lives in Washington Heights, the ancestral lands of the Munsee Lenape people.
Photo by Alla Kovgan