Senior dancer Nirvi Shah is choreographing a piece for the spring Emory Dance Company concert (April 22-24). The post below describes her piece and the motivation behind her choreography.
Nirvi Shah’s “Palindrome” is a dance piece blending Indian Classical styles with modern dance. Being trained in both techniques, Nirvi has had to face a battle of postures, intentions and performance qualities while learning. Indian Classical dance is very rigid, structured, anecdotal, and presentational whereas modern dance has opportunities to be internally or externally focused and contains a wide breadth of dance movement. It is a challenge to fuse the two vastly different techniques together, which also symbolizes Nirvi’s challenge of being raised in America with a strong Indian heritage.
Although she was born in Atlanta, Georgia, her first language is Gujarati, a West Indian language, and she relates more to Indian culture. Growing up in an American school system and culture has been a constant compromise of values and ideals. Stereotypically, Eastern culture is more conservative and community based while Western culture is liberal and is focused on the nuclear family and self. Nirvi knows that there are other American born Indians as well as other second generation immigrants who also deal with the same situation of being part of two separate societies and are trying to bridge the gap between them while remaining true to both cultures. “Palindrome” is a piece that presents both dance styles and attempts to fuse them, while remaining genuine to both movements just as children of immigrants have been endeavoring to do so and are slowly able to find a fair compromise.