© 2015 Sheetal Gandhi
all rights reserved
Possession by Shilpa Agarwal, Sheetal Gandhi, Jaswinder Ahluwalia and Kamaljeet Ahluwalia is adapted from Shilpa's forthcoming novel, At Her Divine Breast, set in the Kingdom of Travancore in 1811. Told through the interplay of voice, dance, and music, Possession is a story of the divine invasion and transformation of a high-caste Brahmin wife as she negotiates her destiny within the cruel conventions of her society. Possession was created for Evoke - a new works festival at East West Players in Los Angeles.
Excerpt: 4:25 minutes
Full-length: 15 minutes
HUMAN NATURE (2011)
Human Nature is a multi-media dance theater solo inspired by Shel Silverstein's “The Giving Tree” and commissioned by the COLA Individual Artist Grant and Grand Performances in Los Angeles. In this new work, Gandhi interacts with original video and animation designed by Anaitté Vaccaro/MOUSAI. The Digital Scenography creates a vivid and evocative landscape projected onto moving set pieces. In this world, Gandhi explores the complex relationship between giving and taking, drawing on the emotional charge of this archetypal relationship between the boy and the tree, to address humanity’s frightening misuse and abuse of its own relationship to Nature. Gandhi plays both the boy and the tree, artfully transitioning between the two characters who, over time, reveal their individual misgivings and unconscious motivations as both ‘givers’ and ‘takers’.
Excerpt: 5:35 minutes
Full-length: 45 minutes
A COMEDIC READING OF THE KAMA SUTRA (2011)
As a part of Cornerstone Theater's "Creative Seeds" Festival, Gandhi was commissioned to create some work around the issue of "Hunger". She was very interested in the Kama Sutra, and the "hunger" of desire, especially for South Asian women. As she ventured into this topic, she found some very funny literature out there, and some of what she found inspired the creation of this character.
KOO KOO (2010)
Koo Koo is the product of the Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues program. For the 2nd year in a row, Sheetal was invited to Tel Aviv, Israel to set original work on pre-professional Israeli dance students. The two-week workshop was designed to introduce the students to the fundamental technique of Kathak dance and to then draw upon the basic elements in the creation of new choreography in a contemporary context.
DHA TA KA NOTHING (2009)
As part of the Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues program, Sheetal was invited to the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, Israel to participate in a 2-week teaching and choreography workshop where she set new work on pre-professional Israeli dance students. Bridge is an Education Exchange Project of the Los Angeles/Tel Aviv Jewish Federation partnership. The work combines modern and contemporary dance techniques with the complex, precise rhythms of the North Indian classical dance form, Kathak.
Excerpt: 4:16 minutes
Full-length: 15 minutes
APRIL ROSE (2008)
This short dance film was inspired by the pockets of nature that survive within our cities - the beauty that coexists with the harsher elements of urban life, and the parts of ourselves that are seeking those environments that we truly feel "at home" in.
IT'S A SIGN (2003)
An exploration of how superstition, since ancient times, continues to permeate our day-to-day living. With a highly gestural movement vocabulary including the use of “mudras” (symbolic hand gestures used in classical Indian dance), the piece illuminates, with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility, the inherent need in each human being to give meaning to the “chance” occurrences in our lives.
Excerpt: 5:49 minutes
Full-length: 15 minutes
LULLABYE GOODBYE (2003)
Letting go and moving to accept the untimely passing of the one you love, Ms. Gandhi dances for her father, to one of his favorite songs by Sultan Khan.
“(the)piece gives us lulling torsos swathed in white costumes, and vine-covered tree branches, with…wind-chimes making that grief frisson through the audience.” --Criticaldance.com
Excerpt: 4:37 minutes
Full-length: 13 minutes
A family-friendly show that puts chicks and roosters into a coop together for the age-old battle of the sexes.
"They scratch and scrabble...twaddling onto hay bales, heads bobbing...into funky chicken syncopated rhythms...this work is hella funny!" -- CriticalDance.com
Excerpt: 5:12 minutes
Full-length: 14 minutes
Having lived in Ghana, West Africa for one year, Ms. Gandhi learned the traditional drum and song rhythms played by the Dagbamba women of Northern Ghana. In Calabash, Sheetal experiments and plays with these rhythms, using them as a springboard into a high-spirited piece that explodes in celebration of woman's unparalleled strength, tolerance, and perseverance.
”The drums are nodal points for ingenious combinations featuring the purest sort of mime, absent “clever” conceits or tricks.” --Criticaldance.com
Excerpt: 4:56 minutes
Full-length: 14 minutes
Highly imaginative, quirky and theatrical, this piece uses silver paint and balloons to create an otherworldly landscape. Inspired by the book “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn and Ms. Gandhi’s experiences and observations living in Irvine, Orange County – the epitome of a “Brave New World”, petri dish society, Takers explores human society’s evolution and obsessive need for control.
Excerpt: 4:49 minutes
Full-length: 11 minutes
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL - DRALION (2000)
Gandhi created and performed a leading role with Cirque du Soleil's Dralion and toured with the show for two years from 1999-2001. Clips include TV Specials, Interviews, and an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
IN THE BEGINNING... (1972-1980)
Sheetal says, “All that I am started in the beginning. This old footage was only just recently found, stuffed away in a box in my Dad's closet. My brother took them out, and not knowing what they were, sent them to be converted. And...lo' and behold...images of dancing, singing and piano playing, lying on my back on rocks in Yosemite...me, doing all the things that I still do today. If I ever doubt what I’m all about, these clips are affirmations that I’m on my "path."
WHO'S HUNGRY (2012)
Who's Hungry - Santa Monica premiered at Highways Performance Space in 2012. It weaves together stories of five homeless and/or hungry residents of Santa Monica, CA into an evening of adult puppet theater. This is a collaboration between producer/writer Dan Froot, puppet artist/director Dan Hurlin, and composer Amy Denio. Sheetal is one of the original cast members and toured the work to six New England communities in 2013-2014. For more information: http://danfroot.com/repertory/
Excerpt: 0:00 minutes
Full-length: 0:00 minutes
BOMBAY DREAMS (2004)
Sheetal made her Broadway debut as an original cast member of Bombay Dreams, which opened in New York on April 29th, 2004. In the popular style of Bollywood dance, Sheetal was a standout member of the dance ensemble and also had the honor and privilege to be cast as the first understudy to the leading role, Priya. Sheetal performed the leading role over 12 times.
CHILDREN OF EDEN (1997)
Children of Eden is a two-act musical play with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John Caird. The American Premiere was mounted at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey with Stephanie Mills, Adrian Zmed, Kelli Rabke, William Solo, Capathia Jenkins, Darius de Haas, Hunter Foster, Sheetal Gandhi, Vincent D’Elia, and Emy Baysic. Sheetal can be heard singing on the American Cast Recording of Children of Eden.
I AM YOU (2012)
In Sufism, the concept of tawhīd is expressed as the union with the beloved (the primal root) from which/whom one has been cut off and become aloof - and the longing and desire to restore it. I Am You explores tawhīd by reflecting on the nature of duality - of the complex relationship between the soul and the personality, and the perception of the “inner” and “outer” person. The work incorporates dance, text and live singing, and features the timeless poetry of the Persian mystic poet, Rumi.
The genesis of this project came through a commission and accompanying artist residency with the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, CA. The evening-length work was originally created on the site of the beach house, inspired by the expansive natural landscape as well as the many unique architectural elements to be found in and around the beach house. The show was built for two dancers but also features a unique collaboration with non-performers of all ages, invited by Gandhi to participate in the performance.
Original music and sound design by Ellen Reid
Costumes by Tiffany Maxwell
Dha Ta Ka Nothing
It's a Sign
Cirque du Soleil Dralion (2000)
In the Beginning...
Children of Eden
I Am You
“Every innovation builds on old ideas. As responsible artists and human beings, we could do well to check our arrogance at the door and enter softly, in barefeet, eyes open, skin open, and curious as ever to share.”