Indian dancer Shakti Mohan to appear on BBC’s Collaboration Culture

Indian dancer Shakti Mohan travels from her home in Mumbai to New York to collaborate with Arab-American classical composer Mohammed Fairouz as part of the series Collaboration Culture broadcasting on the BBC’s international 24 hour news channel BBC World News. Collaboration Culture pairs fourteen creative and celebrated figures from the worlds of fashion, dance, music, food and art and invites them to collaborate on a new, innovative project including collaborations in New York, Lima, and Accra. The series broadcasts globally on BBC World News.

The New York collaboration sees these two supremely talented young artists, one a composer and one a dancer; born in the same year but on different continents, come together to create a dazzling new performance in one of the world’s greatest cities.

Shakti Mohan is a star in India. Based in Mumbai, she won a nationwide TV talent show called ‘Dance India Dance’ in 2010, wowing the judges with her natural and elegant style. Trained in both traditional and contemporary Indian dance, Shakti is also influenced by Western culture and performance techniques. Recently she has appeared in an Indian soap opera – but is now solely focusing on her dance studies and Bollywood dancing after winning a scholarship.

Mohammed Fairouz is a prolific Arab-American classical composer. Aged 26, he has written numerous orchestral and symphonic works which straddle both Eastern and Western influences. He is one of the most frequently-performed composers of his generation, and his music has been received at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center and internationally throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. In 2008 he was honoured with a national citation from the Embassy of the U.A.E in Washington D.C. for outstanding achievement in artistry and scholarship. He is no stranger to intriguing collaborations, having worked in the past with celebrated Arabic poets and most recently, the Irish literary giant Seamus Heaney.

This episode will follow Shakti as she experiences New York for the very first time, and as she and Mohammed work closely together, sharing ideas and inspiring one another. He will compose a brand new piece of music to which Shakti will choreograph her own routine. The collaborative process will culminate in a one-off performance in front of an invited audience, with Shakti dancing backed by a top American string quartet and a Klezmer clarinettist playing Mohammed’s new composition.

Mohammed Fairouz says “Music means the world to me, it’s the lifeblood of human connection, it’s a source of incredible energy and it’s the most immediate art form and the one in which I find my expression most naturally.” And on the collaboration itself, “Three days to work on the music and two days to work on the choreography? Theoretically no. Practically we did it! We did it.”

“When I first heard [Mohammed’s] music I was so nervous because I couldn’t imagine dancing at that pace for long… Said Shakti Mohan, talking the day before their performance, “But I’ve worked through it… and now I can dance it twice all the way through without getting tired. Because I’m really feeling it – this music is magical.”
Collaboration Culture, broadcast in association with Emirates, will TX weekly on BBC World News from on Saturdays at 6.00am & 1.00pm and Sundays at 6.00pm & 12.00am

Leave a Reply