Circle-making in dance is a way to kinesthetically experience and to embody inclusion, connectivity, and collectivity. Parijat Desai’s current work involves retooling Gujarati circle dance ritual, within community and performance practice. She also asks how individual expression remains alive within collective. Her ongoing research happens through choreography and storytelling with hybrid movement and theatrical vocabularies.
Desai is a dance artist / educator living and working on Munsee Lenape land (NYC). She is concerned with the constant play between our emotional landscape, political realities that plague us, and the natural world. Captivated by dance as an interdisciplinary medium, Desai creates hybrids from contemporary dance, Gujarati circle dance / ritual, Indian neoclassical dance, and experimental theater.
By confronting and working through the complexities of blending across forms, Desai seeks to challenge the fear of change that lies beneath xenophobia. She also leads Dance In The Round, sharing circle dances from Gujarat, India, reframing culturally specific practices to be inclusive across age, ability, gender, and caste and to support community activation. She is currently choreographing the off-Broadway debut of Deepa Purohit’s play, Elyria.
Desai has been developing How Do I Become WE via residencies with Soham Dance Space (Chicago), Gibney Dance Center (NYC), and BRIC/Brooklyn. She has received commissions from Danspace Project, Harlem Stage, Grand Performances/LA, and New York State Council for the Arts.
Desai is a visiting faculty member at Bennington for Spring 2023.