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Drive East

Indian Dance and Music Festival in NYC

About Drive East:

Prepare to be transported into the heart and soul of Indian arts! Drive East returns to Navatman, unveiling an entirely new concept. Watch as our space undergoes a captivating metamorphosis each night, immersing you in an unforgettable experience. Step through the doors and immerse yourself completely as we transport you to new dimensions, stimulating all five senses. Inhale the intoxicating fragrance of jasmine, savor the tantalizing taste of spiced buttermilk, feel the soothing touch of sandalwood paste on your skin. Let the ethereal melodies of the chitravina transport you to distant realms, while the sitar beckons you to discover its secrets firsthand. Drive East by Navatman is not merely a concert, it's a sensory symphony, where the Indian arts come alive.

Schedule



Strings in Conversation

Manhattan: August 17 | Long Island: August 18

Violin, Chitravina, and Mridangam

"Best Violinist", "Best Instrumentalist", "Best Concert 2022", Fulbright Scholarship winners and more build the opening night concert of Drive East. An hour of intense improvisation and never seen before musical techniques pull this evening together.



Shakti Unveiled: Reclaiming the Goddess

Manhattan: August 18 | Long Island: August 19
Bharatanatyam solo with live music

A question is asked to the goddess Kali: why is it that you get to be so free and powerful and worshipped for your carefree ways while women of this earth are not afforded the same rights? A powerful and insightful program that leaves the audience questioning their way in the world.




Beyond Boundaries
Manhattan: August 19 | Long Island: August 20
Flamenco, kathak, lavani with live music (tabla, cajon)


3 completely separate styles and vocabularies yet...intertwined by lines of history. An exciting concert built on the technical varieties of dance and music that has traversed the globe.



Healing the Soul with Sarangi
Manhattan: September 8 | Long Island: September 9
Sarangi and tabla (guest dance artist in Manhattan)

World music artist award winner of 2023, with a countless number of awards to his name, Kamal Sabri takes us back in time with the healing vibrations of the ancient sarangi. A 7th generation artist, Kamal travels the globe collaborating with other artists on Grammy award winning albums, films in India, and more.





Humanity and Mother Earth
Manhattan: September 9 | Long Island: September 10
Kathak group

This kathak group concert links traditional work with contemporary themes, as she links the rich technique of Kathak to the realities that impact us today. Witness the powerful Panchatatva piece, inspired by personal encounters with wildfires, earthquakes, and more.







Abha

Manhattan: September 10

Bharatanatyam Group


Drawing inspiration from various versions of the Ramayana, this innovative creation delves into character perspectives, questioning choices and revealing problematic aspects. It reimagines Margam as a storytelling concept, seamlessly traversing past and future, while the narration engages audiences with thought-provoking exchanges. 




Venues

​Manhattan: ​
Navatman, Inc || 38 W 32nd St #300
Each night, experience a transformation of energy at our centrally located Manhattan venue. The lobby will build a story around each performer’s show and thought process, bringing to the patron a deeper experiential understanding of the Indian arts. With such an intimate space, every nuance of the artist’s face, technique, and energy is felt to a higher degree in this venue.

Dixon Place || 161A Chrystie St
​For our final show, Punyah Dance Company will head to Dixon Place to perform their critically acclaimed Abha. This venue has a historical place in New York with its open arms to new and experimental work and has long supported Indian arts.

Long Island: ​​
​Shree Saneeswara Temple || 1616 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040
A temple with an auditorium in progress built by co-founder Sridhar Shanmugam, his artistic expertise transfer to the space, feeding artistic energy and sensibility. While lights and viewpoints are more minimal, the space rings true to how Indian art forms in India itself have been experienced in the past few hundred years. Visit the next door temple to really understand how one might bring the full experience of Indian arts to life on your visit.

Testimonials:

"Powerful expressions of Indian dance [found] at the Drive East festival"

The New Yorker


"The 30 best conerts of 2019"

New York Music Daily


One of the top 10 dance events of the year"

NJ.com


"Drive East...is an extraordinary feat, covering more ground than many other festivals. Few of us in the West know nearly enough about these rich and compelling genres; I hope this festival recurs in years to come."

The New York Times


"From the programming...to that extraordinary platform, where we got the sense of us being in your space, to the artwork, information and wealth of material as well as the wonderful Qs&As with really skillful moderators...amazing!"

R.P.


"Navatman's production, so far as audio and video quality go, was impeccable."

Arun Kumar


"The Indian diaspora in the U.S., as across the world, is famous for retaining its identity through its arts and food traditions. But while cuisine attracts a widespread clientèle, the Indian arts have consistently had more of a niche fan base, remaining below the radar of the mainstream media. The annual Drive East festival, now eight years old, is one effort to make a mark in this context by showcasing the best of India’s classical performance traditions. The recently concluded 2019 edition also drew attention to the journey of diaspora artists in the U.S."

The Hindu




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