A COLLABORATIVE RESIDENCY PROGRAM FOR AAPI ARTISTS
PLAYDATE is an innovative two-week dance residency program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts that aims to address the lack of visibility of AAPI artists in the dance field. In its inaugural year, this collaborative program brought together four talented and diverse Asian American Pacific Islander identifying choreographers to create new work and investigate with how to empower AAPI artists through dance. Each choreographer brought a group of talented and equally diverse dancers to join them in improvisation and discourse with the cohort, ultimately performing collaborative works in progress piece.
"A nurturing and supportive space for AAPI choreographers to explore their artistic visions, collaborating with one another and taking risks."
- The Los Angeles TIMEs, 2023
2023 RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHERS
Jainil is a 23-year-old dancer and choreographer from Mumbai, India, began his dance journey at age five. Formerly with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, he now teaches, creates, and performs in the United States, primarily in New York City. With over 270k Instagram followers, he is known for breaking gender barriers with #Meninskirts. Featured in national newspapers and platforms like BBC News and Good Morning America, Jainil trained for thirteen years at Shiamak Davar International before graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. In the future, he aims to establish the first-ever accredited higher education dance program in India, fostering unique artistic identities.
Barkha Patel is a kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, NAC Artist Fellow, and the Artistic Director of Barkha Dance Company based in New York City. She, along with her company dancers and young students will present various technical and abhinaya (expression based) works. A touring artist, Barkha has performed solo, and ensemble works at dance festivals in In-dia and the U.S. Her work has had the opportunity to present at venues such as Dance Theatre Harlem, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, 92NY and Little Island Dance Festival among others. She is currently in residence with Movement Research in NYC and a 2023 Jerome Hill Artist Finalist (Jerome Foundation).
Tokie Wang, a Chinese choreographer, director, and visual artist, is currently based in L.A. Known for her work in the commercial field, Tokie has collaborated with companies in China and the U.S. including Flower Knows Cosmetics, Hong Kong NetEase Interactive Entertainment Ltd., and LACMA. With an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, in recent years Tokie has worked as a choreographer at LOOKwhat Studio in Hangzhou, China, an assistant choreographer at California Institute of the Arts, and production manager at LACMA/CALARTS. Her recent works include “Because You’re Worth It” (2022), a 50-minute immersive theater experience incorporating dance, toy theater and installations, and “Somewhere, Elsewhere, Nowhere, Los Angeles” (2021), an 8-minute improvisational piece based on dancers daily gestures, using each other’s body to recreate their favorite space.
Ramita Ravi is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator signed with Bloc Talent Agency NY/LA. As the first South Asian featured on So You Think You Can Dance (Season 14), she has performed in various productions including Spinning Gold, Last Week Tonight, Bhangin’ It, NYFW with Hermès, and Mystic India: The World Tour. Ramita has also choreographed for Coachella 2022, Miss America 2021, Raveena, KSHMR, and more. With an extensive teaching background at renowned institutions like Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey Extension, she co-founded Artswrk, a startup challenging the starving artist stigma. Ramita is dedicated to representation, equity, and innovation in the arts.