I spent my summer at The Velaslavasay Panorama learning and experiencing Los Angeles’ rich art and museum scenes. But after working at The Panorama I did not expect the way this space and my experience here converged, shaped, and informed me about who I am and the meaning of expression. What I once saw as a wall that barricaded me from being a ‘regular’ teen, my cultural and artistic education, particularly in Indian classical dance, has now become the bridge I cross at every turn to understand and appreciate people of diverse backgrounds and interests.
That transformation happened most significantly when I travelled as an Arpana Dance Company performer to Japan during the Kinnara- Arpana Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert Tour in December 2011. Like many of us Indo-Americans, our Taiko counterparts were first generation Japanese-Americans. And even though some of them were war veterans, had experienced the internment camps, while some of us were still in college and high school, we shared a defining common ground - a deep respect for our traditions and culture. The Japan tour was an overwhelming experience of cultural connectedness.
So when Sara Velas, Director, gave me the opportunity to host an XYZ Event*, I immediately contacted two of the most influential artists in my life- my Guru Ramya Harishankar and friend George Abe, whom I toured with in Japan. On August 11, through The Velaslavasay Panorama and its XYZ Club I was able to curate a show that shared arts forms including Bharata Natyam, Japanese flute, and Tabla, to an engaged audience. Participants learned about Abhinaya, the history of Japanese bamboo flutes, and tabla syllables, guests were invited to an extended artistic discussion in the Panorama garden. Although the artists spanned generations and cultures, the audience and the artists as a whole connected on the value of expression.
*The XYZ Club was founded in response to the perilous economic climate engulfing The Velaslavasay Panorama. A need to experiment with preservation tactics arose. And thus, The XYZ Club. New members are welcome and encouraged to participate in this monthly initiative - an evening of cordial experimentation and relaxed socialization in the garden & grounds of The Velaslavasay Panorama.
View event invitation here.