July 18, 2016: New York, NY: August sees its fourth Drive East festival in Manhattan, from August 22 – 28, 2016. Navatman sets off its week long Indian performing arts festival for the fourth time at the LaMama Experimental Theatre on the Lower East Side. Now an expected part of the summer dance and music season in Manhattan, this year boasts its usual 20+ concerts, giving patrons a wide variety of widely acclaimed artists alongside undiscovered gems in the Indian classical music and dance field.
“This year is a super exciting one for us – in addition to our concert line up, we plan to really dig into the activities that surround the event. From the moment you step into the building, we want you to feel like you’ve entered a new world,” says, Sahasra Sambamoorthi, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman
In addition to the 20+ concerts, there are a slew of smaller events: rangoli designs that are planned to adorn the festival steps, official artist meet and greets post each performance, free storytelling sessions on Hindu mythology for families, and advanced intensives for adults in the mornings. Each day brings more than just the concert, but an immersive experience.
“If you think you know what Drive East is, you should think again. The artists this year bring an incredible vision to their classical styles to create a really diverse and exciting line up,” says, Sridhar Shanmugam, founder and co-curator of Drive East and Navatman
Some of the exciting dance events this year include: actress/ballet/modern/bharatanatyam danseuse Rukmini Vijayakumar who will be opening the show; co-founder Sahasra Sambamoorthi who will also be joining the roster under the artistic direction of critically acclaimed artist Ramya Ramnarayan, Shyamjith and Viraja form a husband and wife duet team from Chennai, and NADAM packs a powerhouse punch as a kathak group.
Music brings us the multi-talented and ever-famous Abhijit Banerjee on tabla, Kedar Naphade opening the show with an incredible harmonium solo, Basavaraj Brothers who joins us from India in a North/South India instrumental collaboration and of course the firebrand Navatman Music Collective, one of the only carnatic choirs in the world.
Some of the rarer arts include: carnatic saxaphone by Shishir Kumar, mohiniattam by Sunanda Nair, kuchipudi by Yamini Kalluri, and an all male dance show, Prince of Dance, featuring SaiSanthosh Radhakrishnan, Kuldeep Singh, and Kasi Aysola.
Navatman, Inc was founded with an eye on creating a sustainable home for the South Asian arts in New York City and its surrounding neighborhoods, particularly emphasizing Indian classical music and dance. We are a game-changing organization dedicated to creating ground-breaking work in the South Asian classical performing arts in the areas of education, performance, and production. We are best known for our Manhattan-based classes, critically acclaimed productions, dynamic dance company, and stellar carnatic choir, all of which have received reviews in mainstream press including the New York Times, India Abroad, The Hindu, the Financial Times, and The Star-Ledger, to name a few. Navatman continues to see success in their goal to preserve Indian classical music and dance through democratizing these art forms by increasing their accessibility, and innovating on pre-existing business and organizational models to stay relevant, fresh and exciting.