BLUE13 Dance Company is a contemporary Indian dance theatre ensemble based in Los Angeles, California. Since 1999, the company has performed all over the United States and abroad in it’s signature Neo-Kathak and Bollywood-Tech styles, modern dance work that is highly energetic, colorful, and theatrical, and inspired by the classical and cultural dance of India. Artistic director, Achinta S. McDaniel reinvents the cinematic Bollywood concept for the live concert stage, pulling precision, musicality and emotion from her ensemble to create work as rebellious and unconventional as its creator. Storytelling through dance is central to the company, as is a continual exploration of technique and collaboration with its diverse performers and choreographers. The work is moody and emotional, and may range in one piece from a joyous quintessentially “Bollywood” high to a dark and brooding low- a group of 13 dancers satirizing Indian cinema, to a rhythmic footwork assault performed by 2 dancers with bell-clad ankles. Blue13 presents the audience with an intelligent experience of performance that turns the cultural stereotype of Indian dance on its head: “Los Angeles-based blue13 dance company remains true to the origins of dance while maintaining a modern edge, pushing the envelope and challenging social norms.” (Buzzine.com).
Blue13 collaborates with diverse, multi-genre performing artists to continually evolve and explore new repertoire that encompasses contemporary dance with an Eastern sensibility. The ensemble has performed critically acclaimed works all over the U.S., in Europe, and North Africa, and have worked with renowned artists including Timbaland, Dustin Hoffman, Anupam Kher, director, Todd Haynes, Boman Irani, Manasi Scott, and legendary songstress, Kavita Krishnamurthy. Director McDaniel and the company have also had work featured on feature films and commercials, and on television programs on MTV, CBS, NBC, WE, Sony TV, and on PBS.
Dance education and outreach are also central to Blue13′s mission. The company’s LA home ensures its strong presence as the city’s source for Indian style dance classes, workshops, and live public programming. Teaching artists of Blue13 instruct weekly classes at many studios around the Los Angeles area, and work as guest choreographers and instructors in local schools. Blue13 is renowned for its free public programming of interactive dance events in Indian style, working with the County of Los Angeles, The Music Center, and many area cultural institutions to share the art with the public. Blue13 offers workshops, masterclasses and outreach worldwide.
Director and founder of Blue13 Dance Company, Achinta S. McDaniel is a pioneer of modern Indian dance in the United States. A prolific choreographer, performer, and instructor, McDaniel’s powerful and fresh style draws from diverse techniques including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, Bhangra, Kathak, and Bollywood to create spectacularly theatrical and vibrant dance. She is known for her experimentation with international styles and her inventive staging of many genres. Her work is highly dramatic and a real reflection of her upbringing: Eastern and Western, exotic, mysterious, wild, rebellious and unconventional. McDaniel was born in Queens, and grew up studying ballet, tap, modern, and jazz in Cleveland where she got her start as a choreographer at Hathaway Brown School at the age of 14. At 15, she was dancing with local University dance ensembles at Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State throughout high school. McDaniel attended New York University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Dance, Choreography and Theatre, thereafter moving to Bangalore, India to study classical Indian Kathak with guru Maya Rao. Upon returning to New York, she immediately started Blue13 Dance Company, dubbed it “Neo-Kathak,” and performed the modern dance style with rhythmic classical Indian influences for several years, building her presence in the community and teaching Bollywood and Bhangra dance classes on the side. In 2001, McDaniel relocated the company to Los Angeles, expanding over several years to include a core of 15 dancers from diverse technical and cultural backgrounds. The press describes Achinta as, “Truly beyond all spectacle [is] the dancing seductress artistic director Achinta S. McDaniel, who brightens up the stage with her presence and brings to the crowd a wave of enthusiasm that leaves them yelling from their seats.”
Paheliyan: See Alice’s Arranged Marriage! See Alice Run! Blue13 delivers a whirlwind stage spectacle filled with crazy characters, from Madhatters disguised as Hindu Gods, to Peacocks, Monkeys, the Rani of Hearts, and a menacing army of Kathak-stomping, flag- waving cards. Achinta S. McDaniel turns the classic on its head and brings to life an Indian fantasy world electrified by dance in her thrillingly mad, Bollywood spiced-up take on the classic Alice in Wonderland.
“The intermingling of ballet, modern dance and hip hop with traditional and modern Indian dance forms to recreate this classic tale created a highly entertaining spectacle.” —Kayte Deioma, About.com
Bollywood Delicious: Ripe with lip-smacking, lip-synching humor, Blue13′s wild side is on display in this tongue-in-cheek, sensual satire piece that nods at Hindi language cinema and then slaps it in the face! The root of the work is parody of sexual repression in Indian cinema, and Blue13 truly takes it beyond boundaries- from girls clad in nothing but white sheets singing along to a Bollywood classic, to a Chicago-esque jailhouse lamentation, to a Bhangra inspired bar fight- creating a work that will shock and titillate.
Karishma: A magical Bollywood-inspired dance theatre work inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Karishma is ripe with charm and mystery, fairies both naughty and nice, four young lovers, and an enchanted forest filled with eastern enticements, laughter, and charm.
“Every once in a while there will be a short-lived performance that begs to be seen even if the run is too short for review because you know nothing like it will be in the offing for quite some time.” —Backstage West
Into the Bollywoods: An Indian fairytale told through diverse contemporary dance- filled with Princes Charming, magical beans, wicked witches, and a dancing world of intertwined tales inspired by classics like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Follow Jai (Jack) on his journey up the beanstalk to conquer his villains, find the hero within and ultimately, as Bollywood tradition demands, get the girl.
Blue13 Dance Company offers dance education and outreach to include:
Masterclass Series: for Pre-Professionals, College-Level Students and Professionals, the Blue13 Masterclass series combine rhythmic footwork and hand gesture derived of classical Indian techniques, Kathak and Bharatanatyam, with more contemporary interpretations of the forms. The classes also immerse students in elements of folk and popular cultural dance of India including Bhangra and Bollywood styles, teaching technique, performance quality and pieces of company repertory.
Workshops and Technique Classes (Series or Individual): A glimpse of Indian dance for Beginner-Intermediate Level Students, in two categories, Children and Adults. Workshops and classes are offered which address the fundamentals of classical Indian Kathak and Bharatnatyam, including basic footwork and hand gestures and posture, along with an engaging and exciting immersion in Bhangra and Bollywood basic dance and choreography. Students come away with an appreciation for the work that goes into such movement, and retaining basic movements related to the classical, folk, and pop cultural styles of Indian dance.
Educational Assemblies and Performances for Schools and Cultural Institutions: Grades K-12. Blue13 Dance Company’s assembly on Indian Dance explores the history, diversity and progression of Indian dance, following it from ancient classical roots including Kathak and Bharatnatyam to folk styles like Punjabi Bhangra and Guajarati Raas, to contemporary Bollywood dance. The absolute importance of storytelling through choreography and dance will be highlighted and demonstrated, as narrative dance is central to classical and folk forms, and even modern Bollywood dance. Over 45 Minutes, Blue13 Dance Company performs an exciting series of pieces with interesting and informative narration by director Achinta S. McDaniel, and interactive dancing and education throughout to keep students engaged and excited. Assemblies can be adapted for other audiences, families, cultural learning, public events, and outreach work.
|JUN 26, 2012||
FREE LA COUNTY J.A.M SESSION WHITTIER.
BOLLYWOOD BHANGRA J.A.M. with Blue13 All Summer
Whittier at Mayberry Park!, Whittier, CA.
|JUL 28, 2012||INDIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL BENEFIT for THE NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION
Dance Conservatory of Pasadena
|AUG 1, 2012||FREE LA COUNTY J.A.M SESSION LOS ANGELES.
BOLLYWOOD BHANGRA J.A.M. with Blue13 All Summer
Martin Luther King, Jr. Ambulatory Care Center, Los Angeles, CA
|AUG 2, 2012||Mela Outdoor Concert
Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena CA
|AUG 11, 2012||DJ Rekha with Blue13 Dance Company
Orange County Great Park, Irvine, CA
|SEP 21, 2012||Pentacle/River City Artists Independent Showcase
Performing Arts Exchange Conference
Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami, FL
|OCT 26, 2012||Los Angeles Dance Showcase
Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC), Los Angeles, CA
Tickets at the door
|OCT 27, 2012||Dream Halloween Alicia Keys Benefit
Santa Monica Airport Hangar, Santa Monica, CA