Jiva Dance, founded in 2007 and under the artistic direction of Sonali Skandan, is a critically acclaimed dance company based in NYC. The Company strives to present work that is inclusive, universal and challenging. Jiva Dance explores the intersections of classicism, modernity and experimental. Jiva Dance is not tied to Bharatanatyam’s cultural specificity, but creates work that reflects our lives in a diverse urban environment. Jiva Dance holds the belief that tradition is a continuum of evolution and hopes to invigorate classical works with a freshness and unique voice.
As a Company, we feel the vocabulary of movement and expression has the ability to transcend both time and culture. The work we create seeks to expose the dynamism inherent in Bharatanatyam by incorporating modern ideas, movement patterns and music. The Company creates original works that and reenergizes classical pieces with innovative staging concepts. We believe that Indian classical dance is a living, breathing, holistic art form, and is not fixed but is continually evolving.
Jiva Dance has received considerable recognition in the press and has been recognized as a leader in the arts. 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 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, as well as continued support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Jiva Dance was the inaugural recipient of the Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund and receives ongoing private donations to continue its work from its supportive patrons and community base.