Barkha Patel – Juried Bessies Award Tour in Rochester

Barkha Patel dancing in orange dress outdoors among green natural background.

Year: 2024-2025
DanceForce Member: Missy Pfohl Smith
Artist: Barkha Patel
Community Partners: Bharata School of Indian Dance and Music; Eastman School of Music; Nazareth College, Rochester; Rochester Institute of Technology; SUNY Brockport; University of Rochester
Audience: 645
County: Monroe

NYC-based Barkha Dance Company, led by kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, and Juried Bessie Award-winner (2023) Barkha Patel, will perform and offer dance workshops in Rochester, NY, for the first time.

Barkha Dance Company, including dancer/performer Barkha Patel and three company musicians (vocals, tabla, and sarangi) will offer 1-2 performances for public audiences of up to 360 at the University of Rochester campus as part of the city-wide Rochester Fringe Festival. (If the performances take place at the 180-seat Sloan Performing Arts Center, there will be two shows on Sept. 11 and 12, 2024. If the performance takes place at the UR’s Eastman School of Music’s 455-seat Kilbourn Hall, there will be a single performance on Sept. 13, potentially reaching an even wider and larger audience. Negotiations about these dates are currently being solidified.) Patel will also teach two or more bharatanatyam master classes, including one open to the public on the University of Rochester river campus and at least one other one at the Bharata School of Indian Dance and Music, the College at Brockport, and/or Nazareth University, all located in the greater Rochester area and taking place between Sept. 8 and 13. Patel will also be invited to share a free, public artist talk in collaboration with the UR Department of Health, Humanities and Bioethics and the Program of Dance and Movement, on Friday, Sept. 13 at noon. The University of Rochester has a significant population of students of Indian descent, including two student dance groups, Bhangra and Raas. We are excited about the possibility of engaging with the larger community audience and with Bharata School of Indian Dance and Music, led by Parvatha Chidambaram.

Barkha was recently awarded the 2023 Juried Bessie Award “for elegantly and magnificently creating, educating, and sharing work that elevates classical Indian and Kathak dance. Patel is deeply rooted in her art form’s spiritual and cultural history and is a contemporary voice that will contribute to the evolution of Kathak dance and its place in the dance world at large.” A touring artist, Barkha has performed solo and ensemble works at dance festivals in India and the U.S. Her work has had the opportunity to present at venues such as Dance Theatre Harlem, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joyce Theatre, Lincoln Center: Out of Doors, Little Island Dance Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NJPAC and SOPAC. She has also performed at venues in India such as Lakme Fashion Week, Modhera Festival, Chidambaram Festival, Jamshedji Tata Theatre among others.