Dance In the round

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Dancing together in a circle is an age-old, nearly universal human activity—to express solidarity, to worship, or just to have fun.


Dance In The Round (DITR) is a program based on circle dances from Gujarat, India, called Garba and Raas. Our aim is to make these wonderful traditions more widely available, and more importantly to harness the power of the circle-dance experience to support health, well-being, inclusion, and community building among people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Traditionally Garba and Raas are danced in Gujarati communities during the Fall Navratri (or “Nine Nights”) season. People of all ages participate. The practice has also migrated with Gujaratis across India and around the world, to be played during Navratri and at weddings.

DITR at Parsi Family Event. Photo by Jehangir Irani.

DITR at Parsi Family Event. Photo by Jehangir Irani.

DITR: Circle As Sanctuary at Many Languages One Voice/DC, immigrant rights group.

DITR: Circle As Sanctuary at Many Languages One Voice/DC, immigrant rights group.

PROGRAM OFFERINGS

Dance In The Round seeks to make these dances available year round to people of all ages and backgrounds. We offer 3 formats:

  1. Garba/Raas Classes: Mixed-level workshops for the general public, as well as age- or ability-specific classes (e.g., for older adults or children).

Dance In The Round at the Dalton Lower School (ages 6–9). Photo by Shobana Ram.

Dance In The Round at the Dalton Lower School (ages 6–9). Photo by Shobana Ram.

Low-impact DITR class for older adults at India Home, Jamaica, Queens. Photo by Kavita Shah.

Low-impact DITR class for older adults at India Home, Jamaica, Queens. Photo by Kavita Shah.

Public DITR Workshop, Gibney Dance Center, New York, NY. Photo by Sanjay Cherubala.

Public DITR Workshop, Gibney Dance Center, New York, NY. Photo by Sanjay Cherubala.

2. Workshops for Organizations: Movement sessions using dance, somatics, creative movement and theater games, and other modalities toward supporting group or staff well-being, team-building, communication, and leadership.

3. Participatory Choreography for Public Space: Lessons and/or choreography encouraging spontaneous participation at events like street festivals, protests, parties, and special events.

DITR Session at SAWCC Symposium, NYU API Institute. Photo by Aleksei Wagner.

DITR Session at SAWCC Symposium, NYU API Institute. Photo by Aleksei Wagner.

DITR at Chatpati Mela, Chhaya Community Development Corporation’s annual street fair.

DITR at Chatpati Mela, Chhaya Community Development Corporation’s annual street fair.

To bring a Dance In The Round session to your school, organization, business, or event, email info@parijatdesai.org.    

DITR at Chatpati Mela Street Fair. Photos by Mansura Khanum.

DITR at Chatpati Mela Street Fair. Photos by Mansura Khanum.

VIDEO OF DANCE IN THE ROUND

Clips from all-ages Dance In The Round workshop at Gibney Dance Center, NYC.

Clips from all-ages DITR workshop at Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn, NY.

DITR workshop with members of immigrant rights group, Many Languages One Voice, Washington, DC.

DITR session as part of “Community As Studio,” symposium for artist-activists, NYU API Institute.

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Dance In The Round has received generous development support from the Gibney 2018–19 Moving Toward Justice Cohort, The Bay and Paul Foundations, and the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.

Write-up in ARTFORUM.