Jiva Dance is a critically acclaimed dance company based in NYC. Jiva Dance, under the artistic direction of Sonali Skandan, sees the importance of preserving and promoting the traditional arts, yet also understands the need to incorporate innovative techniques to reach diverse audiences. Jiva Dance holds the belief that tradition is a continuum of evolution and hopes to invigorate classical works with a freshness and unique voice.
Jiva Dance strives to present work that is inclusive, allowing those who do not have a background in. We are not tied to Bharatanatyam’s cultural specificity, but are open to creating work that reflects who we are living in a diverse urban environment. And though the art is ancient, we feel the vocabulary of movement and expression has the ability to transcend time and culture. The Company creates original works with modern themes, and reenergizes classical pieces to incorporate innovative light design, staging and multimedia. We believe that Indian classical dance is a holistic art form, and the art is not fixed but is in fact continually evolving.
Jiva Dance has received considerable recognition in the press and has been recognized as a leader in the arts. Jiva was invited to bring classical Indian dance to the Joffrey Ballet School roster for the first time in its 63-year history. Jiva Dance presented work in major venues in the US, becoming the first Indian Classical dance company to be presented at the prestigious Victory Dance Series at the New Victory Theater, the first Indian Classical company to be part of the CUNY Dance Initiative (2017 and 2018) at Queens College, as well as performing for Juilliard’s new online educational program. Jiva Dance was also featured on NBC Learn, in a short documentary titled “Why We Dance.” Jiva Dance’s first dance film short, ‘Urban Nritta,’ has received much attention, and was an official selection in the 17th NY Indian Film Festival. Jiva has been the recipient of two Lower Manhattan Cultural Council awards in past years and a total of four consecutive grants from NYSCA, and receives ongoing private donations to continue its work from its supportive patrons and community base.