Upaj:Improvise takes us behind the scenes to watch the birth and journey of India Jazz Suites, a phenomenal East-meets-West collaboration featuring Indian kathak master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das and tap star Jason Samuels Smith. Das is a 68-year old artist who exemplifies the elegance and mathematical precision of kathak, classical dance of North India. Jason is a 32-year old African American tap dancer who hails from the freestyle, streetwise American tradition of contemporary tap. As the two join forces, an unlikely friendship develops that bridges continents, generations, cultures and communities. The journey of India Jazz Suites poignantly unfolds Das’ and Smith’s personal stories — stories wrought with loss, struggle, and perseverance. As the two artists tell their truths and come to terms with their demons, they show us that our struggles are worthwhile and that Upaj:Improvise paves the way for hope and redemption. Shot backstage and on the pulsating streets of India, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Upaj:Improvise captures the exhilaration and magic of the India Jazz Suites tour and offers a kaleidoscopic view of Indian history, culture and tradition. Das’ and Jason’s journey together offers a message that resonates deep in every heart and soul.
Vandana Kumar | Jan 16, 2014