The India Project

The Caravan in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India  

Slideshow of the India Project 2014

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***Note: Our Indiegogo campaign has ended, the site, however, still offers good background on our effort and the wonderful people involved. Well wishers can also still contribute by making a donation to this and other projects on our Paypal site by by following the link below, or write a check and mail it!

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Read the latest article in the Udaipur Times!

The Situation in Udaipur . . .

Udaipur “the city of lakes” is known for its ancient Rajasthani arts traditions and its picturesque resorts and palaces. Home to one of India’s oldest arts festivals (Shilpgram Utsav) and hundreds cutting edge NGOs, Udaipur serves as a meeting ground for intellectuals, artists, activists and world-travelers.

It is also a city of intense contrasts – where a vibrant history of wealth, luxury and royalty crosses paths with massive economic devastation, inequality, and disparities. While Udaipur boasts many fine education institutions, the literacy rate is still just 62%, with little-to-no access to quality education for poor children, and very few arts programs within the city schools.

Our Work . . .

We have had the opportunity to bring our arts-ed work into the city. We’ve partnered with Big Medicine Charitable Trust (BMCT), an NGO based in Udaipur, who develops communities committed to leading the world towards peace and nonviolence.

Past: 2012 Pilot Project

In January 2012 four TVC teaching artists—Miranda, Marina, Ramona, and Gustavo—developed a world dance pilot project for Shakti Academy in three schools in Udaipur. We didn’t realize then the impact it would make.

As our program unfolded, we witnessed the change in the way students, teachers and administrators thought about teaching and learning. The culminating performance had the entire audience cheering—the children of each school watched in fascination as their peers brought dances from around the world to life. What we did was use dance to unite three school communities of varied social castes in a celebration of arts, culture, and diversity.

We realized, after this, that we had to continue this work in Udaipur. We met with administrators, teachers, government officials, and local press, and have since worked around the clock with the Director of Big Medicine Charitable Trust, to see that we return to spread the mission of Shakti Academy throughout the city.

2012 Pilot Project Links

Future: The Shakti Academy

We are going back to Udaipur this January to help Big Medicine Charitable Trust build the Shakti Academy of Performing Arts and Healing: The first performing arts center in the city, to be built on one of the only remaining plots of land along the lake not owned by a luxury hotel or resort. The Shakti Academy will create a space in Udaipur where class, gender, and means become irrelevant, and the arts become a primary avenue for growth and social change.

Our Three Long term Goals at Shakti Academy are to . . .

  1. Actively reach out to impoverished / at-risk youth—providing access to nutritious food, dance education, and professional development.
  1. Keep local traditions alive—exchanging our dances and teaching practices with local artists and communities.
  1. Connect on a global level—creating international cultural exchange programs for students, activists, and adventurers in the US and India.

How Are We Going To Achieve These Goals?

As Shakti Academy gets to its feet, TVC will coordinate…

  1. Community Outreach
  • Expanding our world dance programs in 5 schools in Udaipur.
  • Creating the Shakti Dance Food Initiative—where we link up with local farms, NGOs, and restaurants to provide nutritious food to low-income children on Shakti Academy’s land—and then teach them dance.
  1. Development
  • Teacher training programs for local / international teachers and performers.
  • Work with BMCT on curriculum & pedagogy.
  • Intensive dance workshops with local dancers and tribes.
  1. Cultural Exchange
  • We are currently developing a winter study abroad program with New York University.
  • Companion tours with the Friendship Ambassador’s Foundation.

Project Timeline . . .

  • May-October 2013: US & INDIA
    • Major Fund-raising campaigns from both BMCT & TVC for Dec/Jan 2013/14.
    • TVC Company Training in New York.
    • BMCT coordination between Shilpgram Utsav and Schools in Udaipur, Jaipur, & Delhi.
    • TVC coordination with NYU cultural exchange program.
  • December, 2013-January, 2014: Udaipur, India
    • 4 to 6 week “Shakti On Tour” world dance residencies in 5 Udaipur schools w/ 6 TVC teaching artists.
    • Ensemble performances at the Utsav Shilpgram Festival w/ 6 TVC dancers/musicians.
    • 3 Week companion tour with 20 students from NYU Tisch School for the Arts.
    • Shakti Academy World Dance Celebration.
    • Begin to develop the Shakti Dance Food Initiative.
  • Summer-Fall 2014/2015: New York, U.S.
    • Domestic US tours with students from Udaipur schools, teachers from Shakti Academy, and Udaipur based dance companies—emphasizing educational outreach activities and international cultural exchange in dance and music.
    • Build studio upon the Shakti Academy site.
    • Continue & Expand relationships with Universities & Schools in US & India.

Ways to Get Involved . . .

  • We are seeking funds to cover airfare, visas, and travel insurance for 6 teaching artists for our January 2014 teaching tour. Our partners in India have pledged to provide full room, board and land transportation. 
  • Spread the Word! Tell friends who may have interest in supporting the longevity of this project and post this campaign to all of your social media networks.

India Team

 The Vanaver Caravan

Livia Vanaver

Artistic Director / Lead teacher

Miranda ten Broeke  

2012 Program Director / NYU coordinator / Teacher / Dancer

Marina Lopez

Udaipur Program Coordinator / Teacher / Dancer

Andy Teirstein

NYU Tisch Program Director / Fiddler

Big Medicine Charitable Trust 

Rita Dixit-Kubiak 

Director / Founder / Trustee

David Kubiak

Co-Founder / Trustee

Friendship Ambassador’s Foundation

Yin-Chu Jou

Companion Tour / NYU Exchange Coordinator

Volunteers & Donations

2012 India Pilot Project Volunteer Teachers:

Marina Lopez, Ramona Staffield, Gustavo Caldas and Miranda ten Broeke.

All photography donated by R.J. Partington III. Udaipur, India. 2012.

Film editing donated by Madeline Cottingham and Hans ten Broeke. July 2013.

 Music contributed by Steve Gorn. June 2013.

India Sponsors


The New School’s The India China Institute



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