about

Artistic Director of Blue13 Dance Company, Achinta S. McDaniel is a pioneer of contemporary Indian dance in the United States. A prolific choreographer, performer, and instructor, McDaniel’s powerful style draws from techniques including Bhangra, Kathak, and Bollywood, Hip Hop, ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance, to create spectacular and theatrical dance. She is known for her experimentation with international styles and for inventive staging of her signature contemporary Indian forms. Her choreography is highly dramatic and a real reflection of her upbringing: Eastern and Western, exotic, mysterious, wild, rebellious and unconventional. McDaniel’s work is fearless and inventive, ever-exploring the boundaries of contemporary dance as a first-generation Indian woman.

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.

Achinta mcdaniel

artistic director

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.

jon paul

associate director

meet the dancers

blue13 dance company

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Jacquelyn began training in ballet at Nevada Ballet Theatre at the age of seven. After graduating from performing arts high school Las Vegas Academy in dance and theatre, she received her Bachelors of Arts in Dance with a concentration in Modern from Point Park University. Upon graduation, Jacquelyn performed as a singer and dancer in the Motown show Solid Gold Soul at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2017, Jacquelyn has performed with Louise Reichlin & Dancers/Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, and Blue13 Dance Company. Jacquelyn aspires to work in other forms of self-expression, and is always looks for opportunities to advance in her dance training as well as her choreographic and performance career.
JACQUELYN BUCKMASTER-WRIGHT

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OMAR ISRAEL CANEDO

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Omar Israel Canedo grew up in Mexico for 13 years before moving to Alaska. He began dancing at 16, and after graduating high school, joined The Young Americans. With this group Omar traveled around the world teaching dance, song and improve with the purpose of teaching students about self-confidence. Upon returning to Alaska, he taught at various dance studios and after school programs finding his passion in hip hop and contemporary. He has since moved to Los Angeles to realize his dream to become a professional dancer.
Alisa Carreras is a UC Berkeley Alum with a degree in Dance and Performance Studies. She started her training at the age of 9 in the Vaganova method of ballet. Since then she has broadened her training to include jazz, modern, contemporary and hip hop. While in school Alisa trained and worked with GirlFly, an aerial dance non-profit associated with Flyaway productions in the Bay Area. Upon graduating in 2016 she was awarded the Mark Goodson Prize for Distinguished Artistic Talent. Alisa has furthered her education with many dance intensives since graduation including the Mark Morris Intensive, the Bodytraffic Winter Intensive, and the LA contemporary Summer Intensive. Alisa joined Blue13 Dance Company in 2017.
ALI CARRERAS

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ROBERT CHRISTOPHER GOMEZ

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Robert Christopher Gomez is from Los Angeles, California. His dance training began at Renaissance High School For The Arts, where he studied African, Jazz, Modern, and Ballet. After graduating, Robert danced under the direction of Tawny Chapman with Leverage Dance. Since then, he has since studied and performed with various disciplines from the Maple Conservatory Of Dance, Kobi Rozenfeld, Erin Landry, Valarie Cabag, Deborah Brockus and more.
After falling into dance in his teens, Kirby Harrell enrolled at LA Valley College, training in Ballet, Jazz, Modern Dance, and Dance for Film and Stage. From there, he was accepted into the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, where he studied Flamenco, Dunham, Horton, Graham, African and Hip Hop. Harrell has performed with the Academy in three Concerts, one Gala, three music videos, and the classic BET televised production, The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker with Raven Symone, and Ms. Debbie Allen herself. Crowned Mr. Hollywood Burlesque 2015, Harrell has also performed nationally with professional Modern, Samba, Flamenco, Burlesque and Bollywood Dance companies such as, Blue13 Dance Company, Daurden Contemporary Dance Theatre, Samba Samba, and Louise Reichlin and Dancers. He has danced for music artists Elvis Crespo, Pattie Brooks, and Ricky Rebel. Harrell’s choreography has been featured in film, (CockTales), TV (TengoTalento, Mucho Talento) and live in many shows and revues in Los Angeles.
kirby harrell

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MYRA JOY VELUZ

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Myra Joy Veluz (MFA), better known as Joy to her dance family, is an LA based dance teaching artist. She has taught at various universities, most notably, Scripps College, Harvard University, and the University of Arizona School of Dance. In addition to Blue13 Dance Company’s repertoire, Joy’s performance highlights also include the Miss Panamerican Pageant, the ING Dance Festival in Seoul, Korea, and the music group, For King and Country. Joy is currently employed within San Marino Unified School District and working to integrate more dance into the middle school curriculum.
Adrianna Vieux is a dancer from Long Beach, California, trained in a variety styles, from jazz, ballet, contemporary, modern, and pointe, to jazz funk, hip-hop, and Bollywood. Adrianna started dancing at the age of 3. At the age of 12 her grandmother signed her up to be a part of MMSDance where she study under Bryana Verner and Cynthia Howell for 5 years. Adrianna also attended Stephens Fame Middle for the Arts and Renaissance High school for the arts, and gained a certificate from International Dance Academy in Hollywood. Adrianna recently performed Achinta S. McDaniel solo work “…but by others’ seeing” for the Women’s Rising festival at Hollywood’s Ford Theatres, receiving critical acclaim for her performance.
ADRIANNA VIEUX

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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

NATASHA NEUFELD
board chair
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 sawhny
board secretary
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 cook
development and operations manager
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 graham
board member
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.
dre jackson
board vice-chair
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.
arun mathai
board treasurer
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
board member
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 uttam
board member
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.

Blue13 dance company “Shaadi”

September 17-18, 2021Heritage Square Museum Los Angeles ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: ACHINTA S. MCDANIEL ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: JON PAUL Welcome to the wedding of the season! Cast

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Hiring Executive Director

Blue13 Dance Company seeks a full-time Executive Director to address the organization’s needs in the areas of development, operations, marketing and fundraising. Candidates should possess

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