Conceived and Choreographed by Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards
Original score: Jayanta Banerjee and Allison Miller
90 minutes | 4 dancers | 6 musicians

...an evening of rhythmic magic.
- Los Angeles Dance Chronicle
“These women welcome the collision of their individual genres, using their art as a container for the larger conversation about connection. The reach across the perceived divide engages, entertains and educates.”
— Amy Seiwart, Artistic Director, Amy Seiwart Imagery

Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration that is rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music and dance. SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde and James Buster Brown, while bringing to the forefront the voices of powerful female artists. Serving as the bridge between tradition and innovation, history and progress, Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, along with some of the world's leading Indian classical and jazz musicians, create nothing short of magic on the stage. 

SPEAK has received support from the following foundations and government agencies:


Son of the Wind
Artistic Directors: Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas, and Rina Mehta
Original score: Jayanta Banerjee

100 minutes | 13 dancers | 5 musicians

With its technical brilliance, emotional power, and reverent yet creative reinterpretation of sacred epic, ‘Son of the Wind,’ staged by American women of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, was world-class transnational dance theater that celebrated Indian performance traditions even as it innovated within them and challenged cultural stereotypes.

This tour-de-force kathak dance drama brings to life the hidden hero at the heart of the great Indian epic, Ramayana.  Hanuman, son of the celestial female spirit, Anjana and Vayu, the mighty wind god, proves to be an integral force behind the rescuing of the kidnapped princess Sita, through his mischievous ingenuity and indomitable vigor.  It is Hanuman’s actions that leads to the victory of Ram, King of Ayodha, over the arrogant and powerful King of Lanka, Ravan.

Told through dramatic storytelling, powerful movement, and exquisite costume design and lighting, this production exposes the contemporary relevance of a timeless story while capturing the hearts of all. 



Sacred Woman
Conceived and Choreographed by Seema Mehta, Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas
90 minutes | 3 dancers | 4 musicians

Scores of female saints, gurus, and yoginis walk India’s vast history, each one charting the formidable path to self knowledge.  Their stories remain in the shadows, eclipsed by the veil of patriarchy.  Sacred Women unravels the lives of Chandanbala, Amarapali and Meera Bai - three female saints representing three distinct spiritual traditions of India  - Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.  

Music, dance, poetry, and mime weave together a tapestry of human emotion and leave us in awe of these three remarkable women, each of whom chart for us the journey from struggle to freedom, from humanity to divinity. 



Conceived and Choreographed by Rina Mehta

A solo performance grounded in the dynamic tradition of Kathak, classical dance of North India and based on the life story of Jainism’s most revered female saint, Chandanbala.

Born as the princess Vasumati, Chandanbala’s enduring compassion and faith stand in stark contrast to the injustice and violence that surrounded her life. Rina’s voice is powerful and evocative as she interprets this ancient tale, bringing to it a contemporary resonance. She weaves together dance, music, rhythm, mime and song in a performance that is compelling storytelling and a call to action. Shows featuring Chandanbala, when possible, highlight the violence against women that plagues our modern society and partner with non-profit organizations aimed at improving the lives of girls and women.



Conceived and Choreographed by Rachna Nivas

Rachna Nivas' solo work, Meera, is based on the life of the 17th century mystic Hindu princess, Meerabai, who single-handedly defies her role in a starkly patriarchal society. She rejects her arranged husband, refuses to be customarily burned at the funeral pyre upon his passing, and becomes completely immersed in her devotion to Krishna, the famed Indian deity representing consciousness. Much to the dismay of her family, she fearlessly transcends all societal norms, gaining followers from far and beyond, who cannot help but be enchanted by her poetry and music hailing her infectious love for the Divine. Even escaping attempts at her life, Meera never falters from her path – to seek spiritual liberation from the mortal world of violence, slavery of women, and misguided pursuit of worldly desires.  



Houyi and Chang'e
Conceived and Choreographed by Seibi Lee

Nine great immortal birds, each with the heat and power of the Sun, combine their powers together in the sky. The world is in peril from the scorching heat and light. The Jade Emperor, Lord of the Heavens, sends for Houyi, the great archer, to save the earth.

Experience the stunning and dramatic story of the heroic archer Houyi who saves the world from certain destruction but who is tragically unable to save his great love – the enchanting Chang’e from the fate of her own curiosity.