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October 2023

Movers & Shapers: Rukhmani Mehta

By Podcast

PODCAST 166: Rukhmani Mehta 

Release Date: 10.30.23


    • Apple: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Spotify: Follow and Listen HERE

    • Any Smartphone Podcast app: Subscribe and Listen

Creating a Vision for Kathak with Rukhmani Mehta

Episode 166: Show Notes

Today on Movers & Shapers, we are joined by Rukhmani Mehta (previously Rina Mehta). Rukhmani is a choreographer, dancer, educator, Artistic Director of Leela Youth Dance Company, and the Co-Artistic Director of Leela Dance Collective, which brings together leading artists from around the world to advance a collective vision for kathak, a classical North Indian dance. In this episode, Rukhmani speaks about her love for creating community through dance and her deep interest in and curiosity for collaborative projects and processes. What stands out most is Rukhmani’s resounding passion for her work and art form, despite the struggles she has had along the way, as well as the thoughtfulness with which she has built her life in dance, from co-leadership of her company to teaching to creating the first-ever endowment to support kathak dance and music in the US and more. Tune in today for an inspiring conversation about the power of collaboration, community, and preserving culture!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How Rukhmani started dancing and when she fell in love with kathak.
  • What she learned about the art form from kathak master, Pt. Chitresh Das.
  • The profoundly transformational experience that studying kathak afforded her.
  • How she learned to follow her heart and commit to starting a professional dance company.
  • Steps Rukhmani took to build a life in dance, including teaching and the Leela Foundation.
  • Audience development and creating a future for kathak as an educator.
  • Unpacking Rukhmani’s belief in the power of collaboration.
  • Where the name Leela comes from and how it speaks to spontaneous creativity.
  • Insight into Rukhmani’s love for creating communities of young women through dance.
  • The process of building Leela as a collective and how it was impacted by COVID.
  • Joys and challenges of a dance career and what you can look forward to from Leela!
  • The heartwarming story of why Rukhmani changed her name from Rina.

“My work is about being an artist and putting the art form out in the world but – it has also become about creating the infrastructure that the artists who are carrying these traditions forward need.” — Rukhmani Mehta

About Rukhmani Mehta

Rukhmani Mehta (previously Rina Mehta) –pronounced RUUKH-muh-nee – brings a singular voice and vision to the art form of kathak, classical dance of North India. She is a senior disciple of the legendary kathak master, Pt. Chitresh Das, and was a principal dancer in his company, the Chitresh Das Dance Company, for over a decade. As Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Leela Dance Collective, Mehta has created numerous original works that bring kathak dance to contemporary audiences. These works include SPEAK, a kathak-tap collaboration; Son of the Wind, a dance drama based on India’s epic, the Ramayana; and Encounters with Beauty, a collaboration between kathak and contemporary chamber music. She has performed at prestigious venues across the United States and India such as NC State Live, The Broad Stage, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Green Music Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, National Centre for Performing Arts Mumbai, and more. Her artistic works have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA, California Arts Council, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and more. She has received the ACTA Apprenticeship Grant and has been twice nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Mehta is also Artistic Director of Leela Youth Dance Company, a pre-professional performing group that empowers young women to develop their voices and be artists and leaders. The Leela Youth Dance Company has been featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Youth Festival, and LA County’s Annual Televised Holiday Celebration.


Connect with Samantha Géracht

Leela Dance

Leela Dance Collective on Instagram

Leela Dance Collective on Facebook


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton

Movers & Shapers: Samantha Géracht

By Podcast

PODCAST 165: Samantha Géracht

Release Date: 10.16.23


    • Apple: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Spotify: Follow and Listen HERE

    • Any Smartphone Podcast app: Subscribe and Listen

Continuing a Modern Dance Legacy with Samantha Géracht

Episode 165: Show Notes.

There are many legends in modern dance that are responsible for making the art form what it is today. But how do we continue their legacy? Today we hear from one of the people responsible for continuing the legacy of Anna Sokolow, Samantha Géracht. Samantha is the artistic director at the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble and in this episode, she tells us all about her incredible career, the multitude of amazing dance practitioners she has learned from and worked with, the difference between a Sokolow dancer and a Sokolow director, the challenges she faces in continuing Anna’s legacy, and so much more! From ballet to modern dance, Samantha has experienced it all as student, performer, and teacher. You don’t want to miss this one so tune in now!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing today’s guest, Samantha Géracht.
  • Samantha tells us about her upbringing and what made her interested in dancing. 
  • What made her switch from ballet to modern dance and breaking the stigma about modern. 
  • Samantha shares her experience at the Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab and who taught her.
  • Samantha’s early marriage and family life. 
  • Joining the Sokolow company and the teaching jobs she had while she was a dancer. 
  • Becoming a Sokolow artistic director and how it differed from being a Sokolow dancer. 
  • The legacy that Anna Sokolow left and Samantha’s special Sokolow choreography. 
  • Samantha shares the biggest struggles and challenges throughout her career. 
  • The support system Samantha has to help her continue Anna’s legacy. 
  • Some of the highlights of Samantha’s career and what she’s working on now. 
  • Where she sees the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble in the future. 

“Being a dancer and a modernist in an era that’s not that interested in modernism is it’s own struggle…..[I’m] giving myself a voice and figuring out what it is I want to do with Anna’s legacy and what that means.”” — Samantha Géracht


About Samantha Géracht

Samantha Géracht, MFA (Artistic Director) performed with Anna Sokolow’s Players’ Project for eleven years and is a founding member of the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble. In 2017 Ms. Géracht was appointed the ensemble’s artistic director. She has toured and taught Sokolow’s repertory nationally and internationally, setting Ms. Sokolow’s works on professional companies, university dance programs, and solo dance artists, including the Centre de Danse Nationale de Paris, the Boston Conservatory, Williams College, The Ailey School/Fordham University, Loyola Chicago, Franklin and Marshall College, Barnard College, Clarence Brooks, Jennifer Conely, Sandra Kaufman, Kanopy Dance Company and Academy, and Christine Dakin.

Ms. Géracht studied technique and composition with Alwin Nikolais and Murry Louis, Humphrey/Limon with Jim May, Betty Jones, Fritz Luden, and Gail Corbin, and Weidman with Deborah Carr. She has taught in the Professional Studies program at the Limon Institute, the Herbert Berghoff (‘HB’) Studio, and is on the faculty of the Hoboken Charter School. Ms. Geracht performed the Humphrey/Weidman repertory with Deborah Carr Theater Dance Ensemble and Gail Corbin. She has appeared with Rae Ballard’s Thoughts in Motion, and as a guest artist with David Parker and The Bang Group. In 2016 she choreographed Shadowbox Theatre’s The Earth and Me, a critically acclaimed climate change puppet/dance opera created for NYC public schools and community centers. Ms. Géracht served as a panelist for the Library of Congress opening of the “New Dance Group” archives. She holds an MFA in dance from Montclair State University (NJ) and a BS in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Géracht is committed to the preservation of early American Modern Dance, making the works of modern dance pioneers more accessible to dance education programs, young artists, and new audiences.


Connect with Samantha Géracht

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble

In the Eye of a Dream, November 9-19, 2023 @ Theaterlab


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton

Pentacle Presents: Fall Further XII (NYC)

By Events No Comments

Pentacle Presents: Fall Further XII (NYC)
Friday, November 17, 2023 at 7.30pm

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002

Pentacle’s twelfth year of Fall Further presents an evening of dance at New York City’s renowned Dixon Place.  Presenting artists are Sonia Plumb Dance, Claire Porter, Milk Leaf Productions, Freespace Dance, and The Moving Architects.


Seoul Dance Film Festival (Seoul, South Korea)

By Events

Seoul Dance Film Festival
November 4, 2023 / 12pm

Seoul Dance Film Festival
Art Nine
Seoul, South Korea

More info on Art Nine: HERE
More info on Seoul Dance Film Festival: HERE

Program includes “O my soul” created/performed by Erin Carlisle Norton of The Moving Architects.
photo: Erin Carlisle Norton in “O my soul”

Movers & Shapers: Alyssa Alpine

By Podcast

PODCAST 164: Alyssa Alpine

Release Date: 10.2.23


    • Apple: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Spotify: Follow and Listen HERE

    • Any Smartphone Podcast app: Subscribe and Listen


Translating Vision into Action with Alyssa Alpine

Episode 164: Show Notes.

Whether it’s for communication, social media, budgets, scheduling, or meetings (and more!), we can attest to the level of detail, creativity, and make-it-happen-attitude required in the support to make dance happen! The role of the Arts Administration is dedicated to translating vision into action, and with great appreciation and admiration we introduce today’s guest, Alyssa Alpine. Alyssa, with her accompanying drive and passion, is the Founding Director of the CUNY Dance Initiative, a residency program for NYC choreographers on City University of New York (CUNY) college campuses. In our conversation with Alyssa today, we delve into the story of how her love for dance stems from both sides of her family and what has fueled her lifelong commitment. She takes us through her academic path and recounts the story of how she fell into a career as an Arts Administrator. Alyssa elaborates on the functioning of the CUNY Dance Initiative and highlights some of the challenges and peak moments she’s encountered along her career journey. Tune in to this episode to hear more from Alyssa Alpine, a true master of wearing many hats (concurrently!) and doing them all successfully!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • We get to meet Alyssa and explore her passionate journey in the world of dance.
  • She elaborates on her time at Hartford Ballet.
  • Her thoughts on a potential career as a ballerina.
  • She talks about what got her started in dance and what made her stay
  • Alyssa’s perspective on the Midwest and why she’d find it difficult to replicate her current life elsewhere. 
  • We hear about her time at Columbia and her academic path toward a B.A.
  • Hopping from one school program to another and figuring out the dance world. 
  • Alyssa recounts the dream and plan she had had coming out of undergrad. 
  • A quick story about the beginning of her career in arts administration.
  • Her sentiments about living and working in New York.
  • Where she went after the Limon Foundation (and having had enough of the Arts world!)
  • She tells the tale of how she wound up at CUNY, managing the CUNY Dance Initiative. 
  • Her dance journey amidst working and what that looked like for Alyssa.
  • Looking back, Alyssa reflects on the aspect of the journey that has given her the most energy.
  • The strengths and skills she brings to her role as an Arts Administrator.
  • She elaborates on the inner functions (and systems) of the CUNY Dance Initiative.
  • More details regarding the CUNY Dance Initiative program.
  • She highlights some of the challenges she’s had to overcome throughout her career.
  • Alyssa shares some peak moments in her career journey. 
  • What Alyssa is energized for and currently looking forward to.

About Alyssa Alpine

Alyssa Alpine is the founding director of the CUNY Dance Initiative, an expansive residency program that provides rehearsal and performance spaces on City University of New York college campuses to local choreographers and dance companies. She has worked in non-profit administration for 20+ years across areas of programming, marketing, development, and operations for organizations such as New York Live Arts, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, New Jersey City University’s Center for the Arts, and Armitage Gone! Dance, with some forays into arts journalism along the way. As a performer, she cut her teeth with Minnesota Dance Theater, The Hartt Ensemble, and the Connecticut Opera before moving to NYC, where she’s worked with Geraldine Cardiel, Alan Danielson, Patricia Hoffbauer, Yehuda Hyman/Mystical Feet, Stephan Koplowitz, Jonathan Monk, and RedWall Dance Theatre. She holds a BA in English from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Connect with Alyssa Alpine

CUNY Dance Initiative 

CDI on Instagram

Alyssa on LinkedIn


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The CUNY Dance Initiative

Fred Astaire

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Martha Graham Dance Company

Peggy Lyman

Hartford Ballet

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Dance New Amsterdam

Jose Limon Dance Foundation

Celebrate Mexico Now Festival

New York Live Arts

Queens College (CUNY)

Geraldine Cardiel

Patricia Hoffbauer

Yvonne Rainer


Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton