It’s immersive, it’s outdoors, and baby, it’s Bollywood-style. When did you get a better wedding invitation than that?
Blue13 Dance Company‘s ‘Shaadi‘ (Hindi for ‘wedding) will be a happening thing at Heritage Square Museum, a cluster of preserved Victorian homes in the Montecito Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. If Blue13’s ebullient artistic director and choreographer Achinta McDaniel has anything to do with it, it’ll be livelier than anything our downer of a world has had to offer in 18 months.
The audience is an active participant as the dancers in the wedding party perform throughout the grounds of Heritage Square’s open-air architecture museum. Drinks, music and a DJ are provided. It is up to you, Mr./Mrs. Guest, to follow a story character of your choice — the bride, the groom, or perhaps the rival ex — from cocktails in the gardens, to the ceremony on the porches, to the personal drama taking place inside the historic mansions.
What? Personal drama at a wedding? You must be joking!
Fifteen dancers will frolic in this faux family feud. The music sounds fantastic: It features Punjabi drum (“dhol”) group Dhol Nation, along with violinist and sarangi player Alma Cielo and percussionist Enrique Lara. DJ Sandeep Kumar fires up the turntables, playing Bollywood, Bhangra and Western hits.
“We wanted to create a celebratory, highly theatrical event in a COVID-safe and welcoming environment that’s not just a park or a parking lot,” says Ms. McDaniel. “Rather than acting as a backdrop, Heritage Square has inspired us. The work has become responsive to the site.”
Blue13’s highly energetic and theatrical style, performed by dancers of many backgrounds, draws from ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, Bhangra, Kathak and Bollywood dance traditions. A first-generation South Asian American, McDaniel pulls precision, humor and deep emotion from her ensemble to create rebellious and unconventional work that turns the cultural stereotype of Indian dance on its head. Blue13 associate artistic director Jon Paul assistant choreographs. The event is a fundraiser. All COVID conventions will be adhered to.
photos courtesy blue13 dance company
Blue13 Shaadi | Heritage Square Museum | Sept 17, 18
Right? I think so too. Very cultural in fact. I’m wondering if there is any allusion to India’s colonial past — with the Victorian homes. / Debra