Kaleidoscope (2023)


Kaleidoscope is the new production by Jiva Dance that looks at nature as a kaleidoscope of interconnected parts that work together to create a complex whole.  But when shifted, results in something totally new, something unexpected.

Running Time: 60 Minutes | 4 Dancers | Studio Recorded Music


Kaleidoscope is the new production by Jiva Dance that looks at nature through the lens of a kaleidoscope.  A kaleidoscope is an optical device that creates unique and ever-changing designs through shifting symmetrical patterns.

In a similar way, we explore nature as interconnected parts that work together to create a complex whole- a beautiful balance of life and death, creation and rebirth,  that work in harmony.  When this harmony is shifted, the result is something totally new, something unexpected.  Just as a kaleidoscope creates a new image, so too, does nature constantly evolve.  The work is based on classical Indian dance and music, but will blend movement shapes and patterns from Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, a martial art from south India, the Chaari Bhedas, as delineated in the Natyashastra (ancient treatise on Indian theater and dance), and modern dance including Graham technique. Both classical Indian dance and modern dance have a distinct connection with nature, and can beautifully express how nature impacts our daily lives. 

We present a suite of four pieces – we start with a creative interpretation of a classical repertoire piece, Alarippu, but intersperse images of nature within its structure.  In our main piece, Elements, we explore the concept of the Pancha Maha Bhoota, or the five primordial elements, as the impact of climate change and human destruction shift the balance of nature. The balance of nature is at stake – the effects of climate exchange have wreaked havoc on all living beings – our shared habitats, food and the mere survival of a harmonious planet is in peril. 

In our newest piece, Echoes, we find our own personal connections to nature through vignettes, anecdotes and stories from our own lives through abhinaya (mimetic technique inherent to Indian classical dance) and spoken word/poetry. Finally our concluding  piece, the thillana, reinterprets a classic rhythmic finale, where we explore the concept of evolution from the big bang until the present day.

With Kaleidoscope, Jiva Dance  hopes to create a living, breathing work that pays homage to the beauty and grandeur of nature as well as communicate a message of urgency to respect and honor this beautiful world, to seize the day, take the opportunity to reflect and celebrate our world. 


Work in Progress showing July 2023 Gibney Studios, NYC

Concept & Choreography:
Sonali Skandan and the Company

Music and Sound Design:
Sonali Skandan and the Company

Anugraha Sridhar, Ramya Shankaran, Shrutivandana Sharma Sonali Skandan

Costume Design:
Sonali Skandan and the Company

Project Support:
Queens Council on the Arts

Darryl Padilla

John Casem