Shalini Bathina is an actress and dancer residing in Los Angeles. She's primarily trained in Kuchipudi, an Indian classical dance form, but has also found a love for many different dance styles including Bollywood, kathak, bharatnatyam, hip hop, fusion, and contemporary. Along with choreographing and dancing independently, she performs with various companies all over Los Angeles. A few notable performances include Disneyland, Hollywood Bowl, and Griffith Shakespeare festival. Her acting credits include Grey's Anatomy, Baby Daddy and Life in Pieces! You can follow her on Instagram: @shalini_bathina
International performing artist Paul Livingstone is one of the few American disciples of the legendary Pt. Ravi Shankar and studied also with Pt Rajeev Taranath. He has performed around the US, Mexico and India & Southeast Asia with leading tabla artists form India & Nepal such as Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri, Homnath Upadhyaya & Abhijit Banerjee. Paul is a dedicated sitarist over 32 years, a multi-instrumentalist and composer of 'ragajazz chamber music' in the realm of world music synthesis leading his own Arohi Ensemble. Paul has composed and recorded for film, television, live theater & dance. He has been featured on two Grammy Award-winning records and has collaborated with traditional & jazz crossover artists from Guinea, Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, Venezuela, Spain, Syria, North & South India & Pakistan as well as artists from around the US & Canada.
Rusty Rickshaw is a South Asian American band based in Southern California. Their work is a marriage between their roots from the Indian Subcontinent and their SoCal spirit - Rock N’ Roll meets Hindustani & folk music from the East. Since their formation in 2014, Rusty Rickshaw has been performing across North America. Their performances range from melodies with expansive alaps that create contemplative moods to heart-pounding rhythms that drive you to join the celebration with others on the floor.
Elephants with guns
Elephants With Guns are a collection of South Asian and Asian musicians who met in Los Angeles and perform music that captures the lush ballads of South Asia, the gritty sounds of Los Angeles, and the alien noises above us all. They are currently recording their debut album with the South Asian musical collective, Good Family Records.
The Musical doc
Fueled by inspiration and innovation, The Musical Doc brings to life a genre of music that incorporates diversity, soul, and higher consciousness. Her hit new single “Strangers” has broken barriers resonating with audiences around the world. She has been featured on platforms worldwide such as BBC radio, Dash radio, Music Mojo, KTLA5 and HipHop basement. Her voice and message has won the heart of audiences at venues like The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The United Nations, The Sydney Opera House, Irving plaza etc. The Musical Doc aspires to inspire and empower women, men, and children around the globe, through education, awareness and artistic expression.
Sheila Govindarajan is an LA-based artist whose music reflects the multiplicity and richness of the worlds and times she travels. Growing up in a traditional South Indian family, Sheila has developed a style that synthesizes her deep roots with the beats, breaks, and rhythms of her polysonic LA upbringing. Singing in multiple languages and even a language of her own she collaborates with leading musicians of various genres.
Rajib Karmakar is a Los Angeles based performance artist, composer and educator who combines tradition with experiment to create new forms, drawing from a deep grounding in Indian classical music to wide varieties in contemporary world music, rock and jazz. Rajib has been performing in India and abroad including USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland performing for Ministry of Spain(Spain), Ottawa Council for Arts(Canada), Ganesh Mahotsav(India), Boom Festival(Portugal), Deutsch
Indische Gesellschaft(Germany), Festival of India(USA and Canada), Festival Papillotes(France), Harbourfront Summer Series(Toronto), NAMM(Los Angeles),
Theatre Rogue Du Conservatoire(Montreal), National Arts Center(Ottawa) Tropical Heatwave Festival(Tampa), Straz Center(Tampa) , Castello Di Romeo(Italy), Roy.O.Disney Hall(Los Angeles) and many more.
Neel Agrawal is a multi-percussionist incorporating various styles of world percussion into his own unique musical voice. Neel performs in a wide range of musical contexts, including fusion, Indian and Western classical, rock, jazz, electronic, hip hop, film scores, and theater. Neel currently performs with groups such as Yes Machine, Arohi Ensemble, and Ethnotronika. He recently completed a fellowship at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab for his groundbreaking research on African Drumming Laws. In Southern California, he performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, The Echo, and the Lummis Day Festival. He has performed with Lord Huron, Oliver Rajamani’s “Flamenco India”, New Music Works, Junkyard Gamelan, Power Strip, and the UC Santa Cruz Percussion Ensemble.
Danish Bhandara [DAH- nish BUN-dah-rah] is a dancer, choreographer, and instructor, who specializes in Bollywood, Kathak, and Belly Dance. She recently graduated from UCLA with her bachelors in dance, Summa Cum Laude. Her Kathak guru is Bhairavi Kumar and she’s trained with Angelika Nemeth for several years in Middle Eastern styles. Danish has been a dancer & instructor for NDM Bollywood dance productions, she’s worked with Bollywhack choreographer Kumari Suraj, performed for the Dalai Lama at the Honda Center, and for the launch of “We Speak Dance” a new Netflix series. Eventually, Danish hopes to teach dance in higher level education.
2017 FEATURED ARTISTS
Chantal Cherry is a queer South African dance choreographer and performer with a BFA in African Dance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and -- come mid-2018 -- an MFA in Choreography from UCLA. Chantal has taken part in such international conferences as Confluences 6 & 7, and Crossings International Artistic Workshop, hosted by the Gordon Institute of the Creative and Performing Arts. She has worked with a wide range of esteemed choreographers, including Vincent Mantsoe (France), Germaine Acogny (Senegal), Christina Towle (France), Hsiao-Mei Ho (Taiwan), Shahar Biniamini (Israel), Jeanine Durning (New York), and Sheetal Gandhi (Los Angeles). Chantal’s choreographic research is currently centered around queer identity and its representation in art and media.
Reshama Damle has been performing Belly Dance and Bollywood dance for 15 years studying and working with most classically trained companies and teachers in Los Angeles. Bollywood music has always inspired her Middle Eastern dance style and with influences of ballet, jazz and hip-hop, Reshama's performance s blend the best of Egyptian technique , the charm of Indian filmi, and the energy of American dance styles.
Sheetal Gandhi is a National Dance Performance (NDP) and MAP Fund award-winning director/choreographer, performer, and teacher based in Los Angeles, CA. Gandhi’s career has spanned genres and disciplines including her work as a creator and performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, playing a leading role in the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams, dancing throughout Ghana with the traditional West African dance company Novisi, and singing with the New York based, all-female a cappella group, Anamcara. Gandhi’s work reflects her love for tradition (both cultural and disciplinary) with the equally urgent desire to break from it. She received a 2012-13 NDP Touring Award for her one-woman show Bahu-Beti-Biwi, and her work has toured to over 16 cities in the U.S. and in India, Israel, Mexico, Norway and Amsterdam. Gandhi’s commitment to artistic innovation and social change continues to lead her to work with various communities – both locally and abroad – where she strives to build bridges across class, gender, age and cultural differences through the arts.
Marina Magalhães is an award-winning choreographer and seasoned dancer from Brazil based in Los Angeles. She has shared her work and unique movement approach throughout the US, Brazil, Cuba, Botswana and South Africa, earning her an LA Weekly Theater Award for Best Choreography and critical acclaim from Creative Feel Magazine, "riveting... a physical and emotional feat". Magalhães is a graduate of UCLA’s World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department and currently teaches at Scripps College, UC Riverside, and Pieter Space where she shares her widely-loved Dancing Diaspora community class on Thursday nights. She is constantly crossing borders, in dance and life, and thus, builds bridges.
Ulka Simone Mohanty is a dancer-choreographer, actor, voiceover artist and chef, originally from Montreal, Canada. She has choreographed multiple works for Disney, including Up! A Great Bird Adventure, Rivers of Light and The Jungle Book Alive With Magic which was presented at the White House for the 2016 Kids’ State Dinner hosted by Michelle Obama. She has performed extensively in dance and theatre and in recent years in film and TV, as well. She has voiced numerous video games and audiobooks, and is the voice of the recurring role of Dr. Kapur on Sprout TV's Nina’s World.
Shyamala Moorty is dedicated to making collaborative and transformative performances drawing from Indian and western dance, theater, and community engagement. She is a founding member of the Post Natyam Collective, and the Dancing Storytellers. Shyamala has toured across the U.S., to Canada, Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic, and India. Her work was acclaimed as a “tour de force” by the Los Angeles Times (2003), and described as “that special kind of healing that art can accomplish” in the book Contemporary Indian Dance by Ketu Katrak (2011). An MFA from UCLA, Shyamala teaches yoga at West LA College and Kava Yoga.
Lionel Popkin is a choreographer exploring issues of hybrid identity. His work intertwines multiple perspectives on global and personal approaches to inter-cultural dialogue, domestic interiority and overall conceptions of how the body is represented. He tours and performs his projects throughout the United States, where he is based, and abroad. Lionel was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 2000 to 2003, is certified to teach Skinner Releasing Technique and is a Professor in Choreography at UCLA.
Richa Shukla is a dancer/actress of South Asian descent in Los Angeles. It is her mission to spread appreciation for South Asian culture and art, so she is thrilled to be a part of this year's Artwallah Festival. She has been trained in Kathak (Indian Classical Dance) and other styles of western/Indian dance for 20+ years. Richa has performed around the globe and with some of her greatest inspirations, including Madhuri Dixit (Filmfare Awards) & Pandit Birju Maharaj (“master of Kathak dance”). Her acting credits include NCIS: LA (CBS), The Mindy Project (Hulu) and more.
Anna Weideman is a fourth year at UCLA studying Dance and is so excited to be graduating this June. She has been dancing for seventeen years with an emphasis on modern, post modern, and comedic dance. Anna loves laughing, food, and spending time with the people she loves. She is also very proud to currently be a Parade Performer and dancer at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
comedy and writing
Jimy Shah is a comedian, writer, and director. You’ve seen her work on Super Deluxe, Funny or Die, Mashable, and Freeform. Jimy loves comedy. After an internship at Saturday Night Live, she became a Writer/ Producer at BET, where her funny words were uttered by powerhouses like Kendrick Lamar and Kevin Hart. She now performs at stand-up and storytelling shows all over NYC and LA. On stage she explores themes around the South Asian diaspora and her immigrant experience. She’s currently working on a comedic one-woman storytelling show entitled, “Most Likely to Succeed,” which is slated to premiere in late 2018.
Aruni Wijesinghe works as a project manager for Affinis Labs, an award-winning social innovation firm that helps clients creatively tackle complex global challenges through entrepreneurship. She holds a BA in English Literature from UCLA, an AA in Dance from Cypress College and is certified to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Aruni has read her poetry at Angels Flight Literary West salon, Roar Shack reading series and will perform at Poetry Circus 2018. She lives a quiet life in Orange County with her husband Jeff and their cats Jack and Josie.