#28. Skiing in a Saree: How South Asian Dance Builds Community and Connects Cultures

Divya Maiya gives us a peek into the world of South Asian dance. She is the co-founder of the South Asian Arts and Theater House — SAATH — based in Minneapolis, MN.

More than Bollywood and Bhangra, she looks at the communities touched by South Asian dance. And, she talks about breaking stereotypes, appreciating cultural traditions and the motivation for her own #SareeAdventures.

Divya Maiya looks at how dance can be a fun way to build community across and beyond the South Asian diaspora.

What You’ll Learn:

  • About the Roots of Various of South Asian Dances
  • How Dance Can Tell the History and Culture of a People
  • How Dance Can Build a Diverse Community among the South Asian Diaspora

About the Guest: 

Divya Maiya is a saree adventurer and co-founder of SAATH, the South Asian Arts and Theater House in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

New to town, she originally sought dance as a way to meet people. Today, SAATH is home to a diverse arts community. It includes, Asian and non-Asian dancers who come together for performances and informal classes. Most of all, it offers a fun way to connect to the cultural roots of South Asian arts and the people who share a passion for it.

SAATH is a 501c3 non-profit organization that celebrates “cultural diversity and social harmony in our communities through the joyful medium of dance, performing arts, and related South Asian cultural traditions.”

Divya Maiya also serves as the President, Executive Director and Artistic Director of SAATH (formerly named Bollywood Dance Scene). She is a techie and social media influencer who has a passion for travel and photography.

Links Related to Episode:

South Asian Arts and Theatre House

YouTube – South Asian Arts and Theatre House

Instagram – South Asian Arts and Theatre House

Twitter – South Asian Arts and Theatre House

Instagram – @divyamaiya

Timestamped Show Notes:

02:15 – Defining South Asian Dance

04:43 – Building Bridges with the Arts

05:26 – Influence of African Culture on South Asian Dance

06:24 – Dance and Cultural Exchange among South Asian Diaspora

08:07 – Listening to the Stories People Groups Tell

09:03 – What is South Asian Dance in American?

10:26 – Community, Culture and History

14:31 – Challenging Stereotypes

15:49 – #SareeAdventures

18:41 – What about the Second Generation?

19:34 – Art and Social Issues

20:29 – Despite the Haters

20:44 – Forming Community from a Small Group

22:27 – Not Just a Bollywood Dance Scene

23:21 – What about Cultural Appropriation?

25:04 – Creating Community Where You Are

29:39 – Getting in Touch with SAATH

30:34 – Family and Joke Ahead

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