Spark Dance Grant Awardee Kalpana Subbarao Debuts New Work


August 3, 2021

Spark Dance Grant Awardee Kalpana Subbarao Debuts New Work, Ritmo Zindagi (Rhythm of Life), As A Kathak Flamenco Collaboration

In collaboration with the artists of Kathak Flamenco Houston, Spark Dance Grant awardee Kalpana Subbarao, debuts a new work, Ritmo Zindagi (Rhythm of Life) on August 13th 2021, 8:30 pm at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park. This work is featured in Act 1, Kathak-Flamenco segment of the Sharing Stories (Indian Dance, Theater and Flamenco) show by Silambam Houston. 

Kathak Flamenco Houston pictured. Photo by Anuraag Shah/Edited by ILP Designs.
From L-R, Shyama Mishra – Hindustani vocal and Padhant, Sangeeta Mondal – Harmonium, Andrés Felix – Cajòn, Irma La Paloma – Cante, Kalpana Subbarao – Kathak Dancer, Jeremías García – Guitar, Edith Niño  – Flamenco dancer, Jason Zinn – Tabla, Abhishek Balakrishnan – Carnatic violin

Rhythm is life and a constant force of nature.  As we partake in daily life, we join the synergy of the symphony of rhythms around us. Through our voices, instruments, and bodies we express rhythmic sounds that become expressions, words, sentences, language, song, and movement. Current times have masked our faces, but not our rhythmic connections and love for art.  More than ever, we need to connect and enjoy our similarities as well as celebrate our differences. The simplest and yet most complex universal language of music and rhythm is the heartbeat.  Starting with this heartbeat, Ritmo Zindagi takes you on a journey that awakens the senses and moves the soul of the audience with colorful rhythmic combinations.   

Kathak Flamenco Houston brings together decades of passion and collective artistic experience to showcase two diverse art forms that share common roots through history.  Kathak, which originated in Northwest India, is based on the art of storytelling. Through song, dance, musical, and percussive accompaniment it depicts stories central to Indian culture.  Flamenco, which originated in the South of Spain (Andalucía), is the conversation between song, guitar, dance, and percussion. The folklore of India, located in the Asian continent, generated musical traditions that were exported by transient people to the countries of Europe and the Middle East.  Traits in the language, vocal styles, and rhythmic patterns in Andalucía, Spain can be traced to the Punjab region in India.

About Kalpana Subbarao

Kalpana Subbarao is an artist with over 20 years experience in Indian classical dance forms, Kathak and Bharatanatyam.

As a 2018-2019 Artist in Residence for Dance Source Houston, she produced a collaborative show on Kathak-Flamenco with 7 other artists from Houston.  In 2017, she was a solo artist in the Barnstorm Dance Festival. She is a certified Teaching Artist through Young Audiences of Houston/University of Houston. 

She studied Bharatanatyam in a traditional setting in India. A recipient of a 3-year scholarship from the Sangeet Nritya Academy, she holds the 1st rank in the Senior and Vidwat (Proficiency) exams. Currently, she practices Kathak and is a disciple of Pandit Sontosh Maharaj for the past 9 years. She is a student of rhythm with Pandit Divyang Vakil for the past 2 years. In 2021, she completed a 15-day workshop on Navarasa Sadhana, a system of acting methodology for dancers, conducted by Guru G. Venu.  She has performed in USA, India and Malaysia.

She has conceptualized, created, co-choreographed and directed an evening-length production of Kathak-Flamenco, A Celebration of Cultures.  As a choreographer, she showcased her work, Beloved, at the Mind The Gap show in 2017. She was the lead choreographer for Kathak in Silambam Houston Dance Company’s production, Kāvya: Poetry in Motion staged at Miller Outdoor Theater (2018) and MATCH (2017) in Houston. Kalpana teaches Kathak for Silambam Houston at their Pearland and Heights locations. She has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Houston and has previously worked as an engineer.

Follow Kalpana / Solero Flamenco / Kathak Flamenco Houston on social media 

Instagram: @kalpanasubbarao / @soleroflamenco

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This project is sponsored in part by Dance Source Houston’s Spark Dance Grant and by the City of Houston through the Miller Theater Advisory Board.

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