For The Love Of L.A.: Shreya Patel
Many For The Love Of L.A. curators ask their artists questions and post them here. You are the reader of this collection, so for context, prior to your viewership, some questions for you instead:
- How does a South Asian person dance?
- Who do you see when you hear “Girl next door,” or “America’s sweetheart?”
- What does Indian music sound like?
- What does contemporary dance look like?
- What is authentic Indian art?
Write down your answers, then please watch the pieces and the artist Q&A. I would love to hear your thoughts before and after, and any realizations or thoughts that might have/or may not have occurred. Tag @achintablue13 and @musiccenterla on Instagram using the hashtags #ftlola #objectsinmirror.
My intention for the project Objects in Mirror is to explore the multifaceted nature of South Asian American artists and deviate from the stereotypical representation of the Indian dancer. In this piece, I seek to reveal the complexity and duality of my Indian American identity, portraying my own mirror reflections as a modern Western and bharatnatyam dancer.
Shreya Patel, a 17-year-old high school senior, was born and raised in Southern California. At the age of five, she began training in Western and classical Indian dance forms. She has studied Bharatnatyam under the guidance of Ramya Harishankar, director of Arpana Dance Company. With Arpana Dance Company, Patel has toured nationally and internationally as a soloist and company member.
In December 2019, Patel performed solo at the Margazhi Festival in Chennai, India. She has performed as a soloist throughout Southern California including the Silk Road Festival, Bowers Museum Festival of India and Japanese Art and Culture Festival in L.A. (2019).
Patel started dancing competitively at the age of five and currently competes as the captain of her high school dance team. She currently studies under the guidance of Krista Miller, director of the Brea Space and Terri Shirokawa, director of Yorba Linda Academy of Ballet. She has participated in various dance-related community projects close to her heart including Dancers for Black Lives Matter and Dancers Against Cancer. Her goal is to continue her work in dance while fusing her background in Western and classical Indian styles.
Curated by Achinta S. McDaniel
“'Objects in Mirror...' is the phrase which first inspired my curated collection For the Love of LA. I deliberately selected Indian/South Asian American identifying performing artists for this curation and, to catalyze the work, asked each to fill in the rest of the above sentence.
The Objects in Mirror projects center this deinvisibilization process through dance, music and film created in L.A. during the height of the pandemic. The isolation, the 2020 election, our inspiration from Black Lives Matter and anti-racist movements across the U.S., coupled with the violence our communities endured during this time reifies the need to meaningfully elevate our visibility, not just as in performative gestures of diversity. My artists are Shreya, Shalini, and Ireesh and I am Achinta. Don’t say you’re not even going to try to pronounce them. Ask us how."