Parijat Desai–Circle As Sanctuary

Barbie Leung

Barbie Leung

In Dance In The Round: Circle As Sanctuary, dancer and choreographer Parijat Desai teaches Garba and Raas—circle dances that originate in Gujarat, India, and that are played across the South Asian diaspora. She offers this inclusive workshop as a rare experience of collective movement and rhythm, much-needed now as our nation experiences intense social fractures.

Garba and Raas are usually played during the fall Navratri season—nine nights of dance and community. Parijat created DITR as a way to share these dances outside their cultural and religious context, and to make them accessible to people of all abilities and backgrounds.

These circle dances contain a transformative power. In the deeply human experience of dancing together in a circle, we find connection to one another and individual freedom inside an organic group.

Sunday October 8, 2:30 pm
FREE, Email to reserve a spot.
Public Event at the Columbia Heights Plaza
Dance In The Round: A Sanctuary
Joining with Many Languages One Voice, Daniel Phoenix Singh’s Dakshina Dance Company and Parijat Desai Dance Company offer Dance In The Round to the public.

We offer a gentle opening warm-up and Garba lesson, followed by guided Garba around the circle. We welcome people to come and go as they are able, and will have dancers on hand to assist participants in joining as they arrive.

The word garbh in Garba means “womb,” a space of nurture. In light of recent attacks on marginalized communities, we offer Dance In The Round as a space for us to come together to experience collective empowerment and to create sanctuary—a safe and nourishing home inside the circle.

Tatyana Tenenbaum

Tatyana Tenenbaum

Friday October 13, at 6:00 pm
Parijat Desai performs
O.O.F. (opposite of fear)
Atlas Theatre, Lab II
FREE, Email to reserve a spot.
Parijat Desai is an India-born, U.S.-raised choreographer who strives to cross boundaries of culture, identity, and nation through dance performance. She draws on contemporary dance, bharata natyam, theater, and other forms to create hybrid movement languages. Parijat also interfaces with architectural site and public space to explore human experience and social issues through the performing body.

O.O.F. is an evolving movement practice in which Parijat attempts to cultivate an alternative emotional state to the anxiety of the curent political moment and to her individual fear. She asks, what rituals can I create to invoke new energies? O.O.F. was first performed live with Minneapolis-based avant garde composer Manjunan Gnanaratnam. Together and separately they have been exploring macro and micro cycles in our human experience.

Sunday October 15, at 2:30 pm
FREE, Email to reserve a spot.
Maryland Youth Ballet
Dance in the Round: Studio Workshop

Kyle Froman

Kyle Froman

In the studio workshop, Parijat offers an invigorating warm-up and breaks down the steps of Garba, so that before you know it, you are dancing around the circle.

Between each learning segment, there’ll be time for all to dance in a large circle. At the end, we’ll learn Raas, played with dandiya or wooden sticks.

All levels and genders welcome, ages 8 to 88. If you’re already got the moves, come them show off!

KID POLICY: The workshop is oriented to adults, but children are welcome. Kids 8 and up must be accompanied by an adult and require a ticket. For children 7 and under, and they must have at least one adult each with them throughout. We love them, but please keep track of your children!

Comfortable, ideally loose, bottoms suggested. Long skirts and/or kurtas welcome, but not required. No shoes on dance floor. If your feet need support, please bring a pair of indoor shoes to wear in studio. Bring water.
*We’ll provide basic sticks, but if you have decorated dandiya, bring them!
Questions? E-mail