Author: clarapy

Clara is a freelance film Producer and Grant Writer in New York City. She spends her "free time" surfing Facebook, talking to her mom and plotting to take over the world - one half-finished essay at a time. @clara_peterson



In this episode we connected with our first dance-maker specializing in Indian Kathak dance! Barkha Patel gave us a fascinating, in-depth look at the intricacies and history of Kathak technique while describing her own experience learning and presenting Kathak. Along the way, we talked about how dance can reflect, imbibe and transform a dancer’s personality, and Barkha told us about her first full-length production with Barkha Dance Company, set to premiere in 2019. We hope you’ll be as excited to follow Barkha’s work as we are after this interview! See a video of Barkha in action here and be sure to subscribe to her channel. You can also follow Barkha on Instagram.

Barkha Patel is an Indian Classical Kathak dancer based in New York. She has been trained in the Jaipur and Lucknow style of Kathak by her Guru, Rachna Sarang, and is currently also training in Bharatanatyam with Deepak Mazumdar and Hindustani rhythm with Pandit Divyang Vakil. Barkha completed her Master’s in Kathak Performing Arts from the Kalidasa Sanskrit University in Nagpur, India.

Through Barkha Dance Company, Barkha teaches classes in New York and New Jersey that help students become more aware of their physical strength and grace while learning the history and culture of the Indian heritage. She is currently working on her first full length production due to premiere in 2019!

Under her Guru’s guidance, Barkha has assisted in teaching productions that have been presented in both the United States and India. She presented her own debut solo in New York City in 2014, and she has travelled to many cities in the U.S and India (Gujarat, Bangalore, Mumbai) to perform Kathak solos. Other notable performances have been for former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and music virtuoso Pandit Jarajji.

CAN WE DESIGN FREEDOM: Marc Bamuthi Joseph


[*If you’re listening with headphones, be sure to use both left & right for this episode!*]

This month, we had the good fortune to catch Marc Bamuthi Joseph for a quick interview while he was in NYC! Marc is widely recognized as one of the most vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. We packed so much into this relatively short conversation, speaking with Marc about how community engagement and social change are inextricably bound to his artistic practice; his new, soccer-inspired piece, /pehLO-tah/, which will be performed at BAM Oct 18th-21st; and some of the ways in which he ties performance work to community engagement efforts. In the process, we touched on the concept of black joy, parallels between soccer and choreography, and even “the semiotics of the goal scorer’s celebration.” 😉 Obviously a fascinating figure on both intellectual and creative levels, Marc gives us a great deal to think about, and we encourage everyone to see /pehLO-tah/ at BAM, Oct 18th-21st!

Recognized as one of the most vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation, Marc BAMUTHI Joseph is hailed for producing and/or performing riveting works of political, economic, and social significance. His bold poetically-driven work investigates social issues and cultural identity. He is a steadfast believer in empathy as the most valuable currency in building community, and seeks to spark curiosity and dialogue about freedom, compassion, and fearlessness through pioneering arts stewardship and education.  He is a 2017 TEDGlobal Fellow and was also named a Top Influencer by Dance Magazine this year. His latest (2017) touring work, /pehLO-tah/ is inspired by soccer, Bamuthi’s first generation American experience, intersecting global economics, cross border fan culture, and the politics of joy. In addition, BAMUTHI is the founding Program Director of the non-profit Youth Speaks, and a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one-day festivals which activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life. His essays have been published in Harvard Education Press; he has lectured at more than 200 colleges, has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford and Lehigh, among others, and currently serves as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where Bamuthi continues to discover intersections between art, societal concerns, and community in the Bay area.



Jessica and Clara finally reunited in the studio for this interview with Miki Orihara, Choreographer and former Graham dancer. We speculated on the differences between modern dance and ballet, and Miki shared her thoughts on how Graham’s technique sticks with the dancer as well as her own efforts to both honor and diverge from that technique. She also shared fascinating stories about entering the dance world after coming to America from Japan and her initial attraction to the theater. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did. (more…)



We had the incredible fortune of connecting with Vincent Paterson, Director and Choreographer who has created some of the most iconic moments in pop culture. Joining us remotely via Skype, Vincent spoke candidly and humorously of his work with Michael Jackson and Madonna, among other legends, and shared a few of the fun stories from his upcoming book. We delved into the process and nature of choreographing for celebrities who come to the table with their own style, as well as the range of responsibilities ascribed to a choreographer and to a director for large-scale commercial or creative projects. Over the course of the conversation, we definitely got a sense of why so many people from all across the arts world love to work with Vincent. We’re honored and excited to share the interview with you, our listeners! (more…)


eric gauthier

Clara recently sat down with Eric Gauthier at the Joyce Theater when his company, Gauthier Dance, presented the New York premiere of NIJINSKI. We got through many topics in a short time in this interview, covering Eric’s early inspiration to pursue dance (thanks to the musical Cats!), the process that allowed him to establish Gauthier Dance and grow the company relatively rapidly under the auspices of Theaterhaus Stuttgart, and his overall mission to connect with new and expanded dance audiences by presenting the “sunny side of modern dance.” He explained how Gauthier Dance is like a clown, on one side humor and on the other side a foundation of tragedy. Based on what we’ve seen of the company, we certainly agree and couldn’t recommend them more strongly. (more…)

Dance/NYC Symposium 2017

DanceSymp Image 2017

Jessica and Clara returned to Dance Symposium this year on Sunday, March 5th, interviewing panelists and audience members on concepts and issues of interest to the dance community.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the topics you’ll hear covered in this episode, as well as an extended version with information about each segment:

Minute 0:0 0- 21:17 – Designing the Future of Dance Education

21:18 – 32:28 – New Technologies, New Dance, New Audiences Conversation

32:30 – 36:30 – National Dance Advocacy Workshop

36:31 – End – Igniting Public Passions and Participation in the 21st Century

Minute 0:00 – 21:17 – Designing the Future of Dance Education (more…)

THIS IS DEEPER THAN ART: Jason Samuels Smith


In this episode we connected with our first-ever tap dancer – and one of the very best in the field – Jason Samuels Smith. (See also Divine Rhythm Productions!) As a special bonus, we were also joined by filmmaker Simone Maurice whose documentary about Jason, “Lost In The Shuffle,” just premiered at the Dance on Camera Festival (on Facebook here). With Jason, we discussed what it takes to become an extraordinary tap dancer and how tap tends to be perceived and represented. From there, we delved “deeper than art” and learned about the many early contributors to, and even inventors of, the dance form who have been little recognized or marginalized over the years. With Simone and Jason both, we learned about the misinformation surrounding the roots of tap dance and, in the end, put out a call to YOU, our listeners: write the real story! No secondary sources allowed. (more…)