McDaniel, a Professor at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California, was born in Queens and grew up studying dance in Cleveland, Ohio, where she got her start as a choreographer at Hathaway Brown School at the age of 14. Throughout high school, she danced in ensembles at Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve, thereafter graduating from New York University with a degree in Choreography, Dance, and Theatre. She later studied classical Indian Kathak in Bangalore, India with guru Maya Rao. Returning to New York in 1999, McDaniel founded Blue13 Dance Company, performing and teaching across the Tri-State area until 2001, when she relocated to Los Angeles. Achinta has expanded Blue13 for over a fifteen years, creating one of the country’s first professional contemporary Indian dance theatre ensembles and touring on stages around the world. McDaniel also lectures and teaches contemporary Indian, Bollywood, and Bhangra styles internationally, and works as a choreographer in the film and television industry when not touring with Blue13.
Our work has always been rooted in unveiling inequity and celebrating with radical joy in the face of adversity. We are not any one thing to serve to satisfy white centered ideology. We are not inferior in our Bollywood, in our abstract work, on stage, or in a cypher. We are a Brown and Black global majority dance company, and our blood is Blue.
Jon Paul has been dancing, teaching, and choreographing for nearly 15 years. His career began in the midwest, where he was a fixture in the musical theatre community, appearing in more than a dozen productions and founding his own dance company. As a performer, he has starred on stage in A Chorus Line and Brigadoon, danced commercially for Oscar Meyer and Honda, and appeared on TV in fox’s New Girl. He is also a respected instructor, teaching at the renowned Legacy Studios in Los Angeles, and guest teaching for studios across the country. His choreography has been featured in productions of Godspell and The Wiz!, and for brands such as BCBGMAXAZRIA and Honda. He has also worked with singer Lance Bass, and choreographed figure skating programs for Olympic medalists Ashley Wagner and Adam Rippon. 2021 marks Jon Paul’s 11th year with Blue13 Dance Company.
meet the dancers
blue13 dance company
OMAR ISRAEL CANEDO
ROBERT CHRISTOPHER GOMEZ
MYRA JOY VELUZ
what moves us
20 years of Blue13
Blue13 Dance Company is an American dance theatre ensemble based in Los Angeles, with a mission to drive a substantive shift in the perception and practice of American dance through performance, outreach, and education. For over 15 years, Blue13 has connected audiences through the power of live, aesthetically and culturally daring dance, performing in the U.S. and abroad in its highly energetic and theatrical modern dance style that is inspired in part by the classical and cultural art forms of the Indian subcontinent. A first-generation South Asian American, Blue13’s Artistic director, Achinta S. McDaniel pulls precision, humor, and deep emotion from her ensemble to create work as rebellious and unconventional as its architect. Storytelling through dance is central to the company, as is a continual exploration of technique with its cast of dancers of many backgrounds. The work is moody, rhythmic, and charged, presenting the audience with an intelligent experience of performance that turns the cultural stereotype of Indian dance on its head.
Blue13 recently premiered new work “Terpsichore in Ghungroos,” at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, February 2020. This three-part work provides commentary and explores the depths of insidious oppression based on race, gender, and othering. Blue13 has toured internationally, including 2008’s “Fez-Queen of Cities,” with engagements at Royce Hall Los Angeles, Symphony Space New York, in Rabat, Morocco’s Mohammed V Theatre, and at UNESCO in Paris. Blue13 has been presented by University of North Carolina Wilmington, by the Tahoe Arts Project by Cal Poly Arts San Luis Obispo, and in residency at Arts For Schools in Nevada and California. Blue13 has performed at Taal Festival in Cleveland, Ohio and the Northern Alberta Children’s Festival in Canada, and in performances and festivals from Seattle and Las Vegas to New York and Miami. The illustrious Music Center of Los Angeles commissioned the ensemble’s site-specific “Moves After Dark” work which was presented for 4 nights in downtown Los Angeles to critical acclaim. Blue13 was also commissioned in 2014, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation, to create a site-specific piece at Grand Park Los Angeles, creating a weeklong interactive residency that culminated in a pubic performance of a new work exploring the cross-generational effects of the India-Pakistan partition.
Beyond the concert stage, Blue13 provides dancers and choreography for Film, Television, and Special Events worldwide. The company has performed in countless corporate and private events, from Bollywood and Bhangra dance shows, to contemporary work, hip hop and more. Blue13 was featured in Achinta S. McDaniel’s choreography on the 2016 season premiere of FOX’s “New Girl,” and has worked with renowned artists and celebrities including DJ Snake, Zooey Deschanel, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Timbaland, Anupam Kher, Sunny Leone, Lauren Gottlieb, with director, Todd Haynes, and with legendary songstress, Kavita Krishnamurthy. Director McDaniel and the company have also worked on international feature films and commercials, and on television programs on FOX, MTV, CBS, NBC, WE, Sony TV, and on PBS.
Outreach and education are woven deeply into the company’s mission. Experts in audience engagement and Bollywood instruction and choreography, Blue13 further engages communities through classes and workshops, audience “flash mobs,” and interactive public dance events with DJ’s and drumming. Blue13 offers the longest running Bollywood dance classes in Los Angeles at studios all over the city. The company offers choreography services for schools, professional dancers and ensembles, and for special events and weddings. To translate dance into lasting societal contributions is in Blue13’s very DNA, as is the desire to empower and unite people, and to spread joy and understanding through its work.
Board of directors & staff
A philanthropy professional based in Los Angeles, Natasha Neufeld is the Associate Director of Individual Giving at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and has had a lifelong passion for dance, world languages and cultures, art, and architecture.
jaikaran is an accomplished tech executive with a history of success across growth, monetization, and innovation stages of companies. he is passionate about advising non-profits and start-ups, and remains a nerd-at-large.
matthew is the executive and development director of pacific opera project. he joined POP in November of 2019 and oversees all business and fundraising aspects of the company as well as day-to-day operations.
Michael A. Graham is a Partner at the law firm of Pond North LLP, where he practices civil litigation. He is an art lover and advocate, and also sits on the boards of The Trevor Project and Gay Men’s Chorus of LA.
As a former Blue13 dancer and instructor himself, Dre Jackson shares the vision of the company, while also working as an actor and living with his husband in Los Angeles. His credits include Dollface, The Politician, Mindhunter, and New Girl.
A former associate artistic director of Blue13, Arun is currently the Budget Manager at LACMA and a guest lecturer at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. He is passionate about dance.
Anthea Bhargava is a first generation Indian/Irish woman who has worked in show business for 21 years, receiving three Emmy’s and seven nominations. She is a proud foster parent, an avid dance lover, and still, a nose-ringed teen rebel with purple hair.
Vishal is a serial techpreneur and angel investor who founded Veloquence Capital, a venture capital company championing visionary founders who share his energy and passion for ideas that can change the world.
Achinta S. McDaniel has been brewing this idea for ages now: PLAY DATE, an initiative for Los Angeles dance companies and dance makers to come