Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts to Present Blue13 Dance Company in May

The ensemble debuts a new work to their audiences, gives a sneak peek of an exciting work in progress.

By: Apr. 19, 2023
Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts to Present Blue13 Dance Company in May
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On Friday, May 12, 2023 at 7:30pm and Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 7:30pm, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts will present Los Angeles-based Blue13 Dance Company. Known for presenting aesthetically and culturally daring live performances throughout the US and abroad for over 20 years, the ensemble debuts a new work to their audiences, gives a sneak peek of an exciting work in progress, and presents excerpts from favorites in their repertoire.

"I am overjoyed and grateful to return to the Wallis with Blue13," Artistic Director Achinta S. McDaniel shares. "We are so lucky to have such an incredible group of dancers performing. A deeply collaborative process between us has created the works in the program, which exemplifies American dance and the Indian diaspora. It is illustrative of our multiplicity as South Asian Americans, from Bollywood and Bhangra expressions of radical joy in Shaadi, to 1947, a piece about the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition. The audience also has a chance to join in the art-making during our newer repertory piece, Restless autumn, restless spring."

The program features:

-Restless autumn, restless spring premiered at REDCAT's illustrious New Original Works Festival in 2022, exploring the impact of movement along with the performers investigating the multiplicity of ​intersectional global majority identities. Largely a response to the isolation and separation of the ​COVID-19 pandemic, this 30-minute piece is a return to ​collaboration and a rediscovery of what it means for artists to unite in a space ​to reflect on shared experiences and create work together. The audience is invited to partake in the piece in multiple formats including taking to the stage.

-1947, surveying the transnational ​and transgenerational effects of the India-Pakistan partition ​which took place that same year. Augmented by a soundscape rife with stories of survivors ​and their children, the work was inspired by Blue13's 2014 ​site-specific residency for LA/Islam Project and the Doris ​Duke Foundation at Grand Park in Los Angeles. The world ​premiere of 1947 was performed by a cast of 44 ​dancers from USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. This is the first time Blue13 will perform the piece.

-excerpts from Shaadi, originally an evening-length immersive work featuring colorful and energetic contemporary Bollywood and Bhangra dance, set to exciting Indian soundtracks; and

-Dear Mr. Khan, a work that considers the female submissive both sexually and in society, and the sexuality paradox presented through media, particularly challenging gender norms and impossible ideals set forth for Asian American women. The piece, part of McDaniel's Triptych work "Terpsichore in Ghungroos," premiered in 2020 and was presented by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

-Sounds Like a Whoop, Looks Like a Flash, a work in progress exploring invisible disability and addiction.

An American dance ensemble living at the intersection of diaspora and disruption, Blue13 Dance Company employs a powerful spectrum of joy and resistance through rhythm, "Bollywood," and emotional expression. Their work rejects monolithic representations of both Indianness and contemporaneity, and reveals complexities intrinsic to South Asian and intersectional identities via provocative and boundary-exploring new works.

Blue13 recently announced the appointment of Matt Cook as its new Executive Director, who joined the organization after a successful tenure at Pacific Opera Project (POP). Cook's professional experience in the dance field includes prior work with Martha Graham Dance Company, Akram Khan Company, and Heidi Duckler Dance. He joins forces with Artistic Director Achinta S. McDaniel, a pioneer of contemporary Indian dance in the United States known for her experimentation with international styles and for inventive staging of her signature contemporary Indian forms.

Performance Information

The Wallis Presents: Blue13
Friday, May 12, 2023 at 7:30pm
Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N Santa Monica Blvd | Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tickets: $29 - $79
Link: https://thewallis.org/Blue13

Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 7:30pm
Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N Santa Monica Blvd | Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tickets: $29 - $79
Link: https://thewallis.org/Blue13

Restless autumn, restless spring
Shaadi Medley (excerpts)
Dear Mr. Khan
Sounds Like a Whoop, Looks Like a Flash (new work in progress)

Achinta S. McDaniel, Artistic Director
Blue13 Dance Company

About Blue13

Blue13 Dance Company is an American dance ensemble based in Los Angeles, CA. They are devoted to a shift in the perception and practice of American dance through performance, community engagement, and education.

For over 20 years, Blue13 has connected with audiences through aesthetically and culturally daring dance. Their highly energetic and theatrical modern dance style is inspired in part by the classical and cultural art forms of the Indian subcontinent. They have taken this work to seven countries through over 100 performances. As a first-generation South Asian American, Blue13's Artistic director, Achinta S. McDaniel pulls precision, humor, and deep emotion from her ensemble. She creates work that is both as rebellious and as unconventional as its architect.

Blue13 hires dancers of many backgrounds. A continual exploration of technique and storytelling through dance are central to its growth. The moody and rhythmic work turns the cultural stereotype of Indian dance on its head. Outreach and education are also woven deeply into the company's mission. They are experts in audience engagement and engage communities through workshops, audience "flash mobs," and interactive public dance events.

Blue13 has toured internationally with engagements at Royce Hall (Los Angeles), Symphony Space (NYC), Mohammed V Theatre (Rabat, Morocco), and at UNESCO (Paris). They have been presented by UNC Wilmington, Tahoe Arts Project, Taal Festival (Cleveland), Northern Alberta Children's Festival (Canada) and many others.

Blue13 recently premiered a new work, Terpsichore in Ghungroos, at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and featured on REDCAT's New Original Works Festival. This three-part work explores the depths of insidious oppression based on race, gender, and othering. They were also commissioned by the Doris Duke Foundation to create a site-specific piece at Grand Park (Los Angeles) to explore the cross-generational effects of the India-Pakistan partition and by the Music Center of Los Angeles.

Beyond the concert stage, Blue13 provides choreography for film, television, and commercial events worldwide. They were featured on FOX's New Girl (2016), So You Think You Can Dance (2022) and other television programs on MTV, CBS, NBC, WE, Sony TV, and on PBS. Blue13 has also worked with renowned artists and celebrities including A.R. Rahman, DJ Snake, Zooey Deschanel, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Timbaland, Anupam Kher, Sunny Leone, Lauren Gottlieb, Rasika Shekar, and Kavita Krishnamurthy.

About Achinta S. McDaniel

Achinta S. McDaniel is a powerful voice of the Indian diaspora, a pioneer of American dance, and the Founding Artistic Director of Blue13 Dance Company. A prolific choreographer, performer, and instructor, McDaniel's powerful style draws from techniques including Bhangra, Kathak, and Bollywood, Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Modern Dance, to create spectacular and theatrical dance. Her choreography is highly dramatic and a real reflection of her upbringing: Eastern and Western, rebellious and unconventional, traversing commercial, concert, and community engagement while challenging monolithic representations of Indianness. Her work questions hierarchies of pop culture vs. high art, and is at once disobedient and joyful. She is known for her experimentation with international styles and for inventive staging of her signature contemporary Indian forms. McDaniel's work is fearless and inventive, ever-exploring the boundaries of contemporary dance as a South Asian American woman.

McDaniel, a Professor at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, was born in New York and grew up studying dance in Cleveland, Ohio, where she got her start as a choreographer at Hathaway Brown School at the age of 14. She danced in ensembles at Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve, thereafter graduating from New York University with a degree in Choreography, Dance, and Theatre. She later studied classical Indian Kathak in Bangalore, India with guru Maya Rao.

Returning to New York in 1999, McDaniel founded Blue13 Dance Company, performing and teaching across the Tri-State area until 2001, when she relocated to Los Angeles. Achinta has evolved Blue13 for over two decades, creating the United States' first professional contemporary Indian dance company. McDaniel also lectures, teaches, and choreographs for educational institutions across the U.S. McDaniel has choreographed and danced in the music videos of DJ Snake (Colin Tilley) and The Strokes (Warren Fu), and choreographed for Bollywood and American films and artists alike. McDaniel works as a TV choreographer (So You Think You Can Dance, New Girl, The Amazing Race) designs live productions at Walt Disney World on both coasts, and choreographs a multitude of projects in comedy, contemporary, and Bollywood and Bhangra dance styles. She has worked as a choreographer for commercials and brands, including Madden NFL, Heineken, and Snapple, and has worked with artists Timbaland, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and A.R. Rahman at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. McDaniel is passionate about teaching and sharing her unique perspective with students of all levels and abilities. She is an expert in audience and community engagement, working with The Music Center, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Laguna Dance Festival, and many more partners.

McDaniel's recent work includes the acclaimed work Terpsichore in Ghungroos, presented at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and the world premiere of Restless autumn, restless spring, presented as part of the 2022 REDCAT New Original Works Festival. She created her newest work, 1947, for the Kaufman School of Dance and Blue13 in 2022.


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