For 25 years running, the Seattle Theatre Group (STG) has produced DANCE This, an event in which STG’s Education & Community Engagement Department highlights the cultures and dance traditions of diverse communities around the Puget Sound, alongside guest artists from across the U.S.
This year, the Massive Monkees and Mohini Dance School will participate in collaboration with three other dance troupes and four featured artists.
Fresh from their Massive Monkees Day event on May 27, the Hip Hop crew returns to share the stage with Mohini Dance School, as well as Joyas Mestizas, Northwest Tap Connection, and Daughters of Royalty Drill & Dance Ensemble.
“Mohini Dance School was contacted by STG to participate in DANCE This based on positive reviews received from some common patrons who attended Mohini’s most recent production, Nirvana – Revisioning the Mythical Medusa,” said Mohini founder and artistic director Smitha Krishnan. “We were very thrilled to be part of the DANCE This experience.”
Krishnan and her team will present dance pieces from the traditional art form of Mohiniyattam. “These pieces were part of Nirvana, an Indian classical dance ballet production that we showcased at Meydenbauer Center in April, 2022,” she recounted. “The dancers are all part of Mohini Dance School and we picked them based on skill level and availability for DANCE This.”
Managing this new collaboration with STG is Reshma Somarajan, Mohini’s Production Manager, who is in charge of all event programming for Mohini Dance School. “This is our first experience working with dance teams outside the realm of Indian classical dance,” Somarajan said. “It has been a great learning experience for us.”
For STG, the primary focus of DANCE This is collaboration.
“All our dancers who participated in the dance workshop loved the interactions with other teams and are thankful for the opportunity,” Somarajan said. “Our main challenge has been committing to the STG practice schedule, especially for the finale piece, which is a collaborative effort between all participating teams.”
Krishnan agreed. “We especially enjoyed the dance workshop hosted by STG in June, where we had the opportunity to teach our art form and learn other dance styles,” she said. “We hope to meet like-minded art groups and work with them in the future.”
And for those who want to see more of Mohini Dance School in the future, the troupe has upcoming plans in progress. “Mohini Dance School is excited about showcasing its next Dance Drama Production in 2024, Kleopatra, Woman with no Wings,” Somarajan said. “This is an exciting, multilingual, experimental body of work, incorporating English drama with Indian classical dance.”
In line with their dance traditions, Mohini creates all-original music and content for their productions. “We are currently in the process of composing the music for Kleopatra,” said Somarajan. “The show will have over 40 skilled artists, original costumes, and large-scale sets and properties.”
The troupe is looking forward to reaching new audiences who attend or participate in DANCE This.
DANCE This is presented on July 14 at 1pm and 7:30pm at The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue, Seattle.