Choreographer Namita Kapoor grew up in the East Bay town of Moraga, dancing jazz, tap, and ballet. She says, at the time, there were no dance classes in her surroundings that reflected her Indian heritage. It was when she went to college that she discovered Indian dance, and as she did her research, she discovered a fascinating link between classical Indian dance and American Jazz dance. In the 1940s and 1950s, theatrical jazz dance legend Jack Cole invented a dance form called Hindu Swing: jazz dance that draws on ancient Hindu tradition and form. You may remember this from dance numbers he choreographed in films like the 1955 film Kismet.
Today, Namita Kapoor brings back the form of Jack Cole in a show called Hindu Swing, playing this weekend at ODC in San Francisco, as part of its Dance and Diaspora series. In this interview, Kapoor and percussionist Jim Santi-Owen, the show's musical director, tell us more about the form, and about the first time Jack Cole performed Hindu Swing on stage.
Click the player above to hear interview.