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As a Japanese-Filipina choreographer myself, I’ve discovered a novel sense of belonging by means of work with different Asian American dancers. So after I spoke with Deepali Jamwal, I used to be deeply impressed—however not shocked—that she’s harnessed the ability of dance to carry her neighborhood collectively. Jamwal is the founder and artistic director of Live2Dance studio downtown. 

Deepali Jamwal

“When you’re an immigrant to a new city, it’s really hard to find people who look like you, who think like you,” mentioned Jamwal, a Canadian citizen who's initially from India. “Most immigrants are far away from home. I wanted to create a space where the feeling is, ‘You’re new? We have a community of 500 people to take you into our warmth.’” 

Nearly all of Live2Dance college students are adults seeking to blow off steam, get some train–and join with individuals from an analogous background. One web site testimonial from a scholar named Yogesh Kumar reads: “I used to feel like I lived in a ‘foreign’ country for work. Thanks to Deepali, I now feel like I am part of a community that she built single-handedly.”

After a few years of dreaming about making dance her full-time profession, Jamwal left her company finance job to open Live2Dance in October 2019. However COVID-19 had different plans for the studio. After being pressured to close down, and lots of months of heartache and uncertainty, ultimately, Jamwal was capable of finding a brand new area and pull the sources collectively to rebuild, with each monetary and building assist from the neighborhood. Some individuals even took break day work to put in flooring, paint partitions and murals. 

Now, on June 17, Live2Dance is celebrating its first 12 months on this area with an all-night “Dance-a-thon.” The expertise contains snacks, espresso, prizes, breakfast and extra, in addition to back-to-back courses from 6 p.m. to six a.m., June 17–18. All are welcome to attend, together with those that have by no means tried South Asian dance kinds earlier than.  

“Of course, we could have planned a celebration that went from morning to evening, but we thought that dancing the night away was something people might want to check off their bucket list,” Jamwal mentioned. 

A lifelong artist of Indian people and classical dance (amongst different kinds), Jamwal grew up at all times adapting, studying the right way to make associates, and getting artistic in new conditions due to a army father whose work stored the household transferring. Jamwal enjoys collaborating with artists from totally different cultures and traditions. Along with studying Indian kinds, college students also can take courses that blend Bollywood, Bhangra, modern dance, hip-hop and extra to create choices equivalent to “BollySass,” or “BhangraHop.” College students have the chance to carry out in an annual 90-minute dance-drama yearly. 

The studio offers a welcome familiarity for South Asians. Broadly talking, Asians make up greater than 19 p.c of King County—the most important non-white ethnic group within the space. Some have come for jobs at Microsoft and Amazon. Nevertheless, Asians are additionally a various group encompassing vastly totally different cultures, experiences, and positionalities. South Asians hint their origins from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives.

Regardless of their variations, many South Asians within the Live2Dance neighborhood have discovered solidarity all through the worldwide pandemic. Final 12 months, members of the studio supported each other because the large-scale COVID-19 outbreak threatened the well being and security of family members in India. These scars, the burden of trauma, the struggles of being a small-business proprietor for Jamwal, are actual. However right now, the joyful Bollywood beats that beckon individuals into this Seattle dance studio are actual, too. 

“This place has helped so many people survive the pandemic, smile through it, dance through it.” Jamwal mentioned. “This community is an ode to life.” 

Tickets to Live2Dance’s all-night Dance-a-thon (which begins at 6 p.m. on June 17) are $145 and may be bought at https://bit.ly/3aKgk65. For extra info, go to live2danceseattle.com

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