Collaborator, Choreographer, Curator
Mandala Ensemble and Pranita (Jain) Nayar base their work on the belief that structures and forms invite innovation and improvisation. Mandala artists, both the Ensemble and is collaborators, often push beyond tradition to explore folk, contemporary, and popular dance and musical forms. The popularity of Bollywood dance and culture, which is a hybrid mix of several eastern and western dance styles, is one example. Innovators who explore contemporary expressions in an evolving world and those who wish to preserve the classicism of dance and music in its traditional form all find a home at Mandala.
As a provider and mediator of cultural experience, Mandala continually seeks out new collaborators. Choreographers, dramatic artists, storytellers, composers, and musicians collaborate as creative partners. The splendor and impact of Mandala comes from the deep and wide array of offerings and connections it provides to its audiences.
In addition to its Ensemble working alongside world-class artists, Mandala and Nayar also curate and produce the work of other South Asian artists for festivals, expos, exhibitions, conferences, and corporate events. Most recently, Nayar curated the all night Indian classical music event Ragamala, along with music producer Brian Keigher. That year, 2013, it received world-wide recognition and has become a regular feature of the Chicago World Music Festival. In conjunction with the opening of the Alsdorf Gallery of South Asian Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago, artists from India were the highlight of the opening. Mask and Myths, a performance event at The International House of University of Chicago, presented the art of story-telling through movement and music, specifically tribal Mayur Bhanj from Chhatisgadh, India and Legong from Bali. On numerous occasions Pakistani sitarist Rakae Jamil and Bangladesh-based Kathak artist Ishrat Jahan have participated in public programs with Jain.