parul shah
dance company

"New Yorker Parul Shah’s Enduring Silence[...] was the evening’s most radical piece. It was rooted so deeply in Kathak that Shah could swing far out without losing touch."


Enduring Silence

They toil in arid fields while bearing and caring for children. Balance heavy pots of water, cement blocks, and wooden planks on their heads. Endure violence as a natural, cultural phenomenon. For many women around the world, this is their shared plight - physical hardships and inequality protected under the canopy of tradition.
‘Enduring Silence’ takes its inspiration from women that are subjected to violence under the guise of "culture". It recognizes their ignored sorrows and desperate strength.

History of Unforgetting

‘history of unforgetting' draws inspiration from a 2,000-year-old tradition practiced by South Asian female temple-court artists. It acknowledges their artistic contributions while exploring their multifaceted identities. This excerpt offers a lens through which to better understand the displacement and fragmented identities these artists suffered as they went from a position of respect in the social structure to being severely marginalized by British rule.

Enduring Silence

The parul shah dance company is a New York-based Kathak and contemporary dance company that expands the classical medium beyond cultural boundaries. Through performance and education, the company’s work harnesses the expressive power of Indian classical dance to promote cultural understanding and explore questions around identity and humanity. Artistic director Parul Shah is committed to shining a light on marginalized communities and giving voice to stories that go unheard. Her work focuses on cultural practices that undermine women's dignity and respect. Building on the dance form's mythological roots, Shah tells stories that are steeped in history as well as narratives that reveal today's lived experiences. Drawing from her classical training in the North Indian classical dance, Kathak, and her South Asian American identity, Shah uses her sources as she weaves in and out tradition discovering new aesthetics. The narrative guides Shah’s movement language as she searches for authentic expression. Examining the intersections of dance and culture, the company’s work reflects the embodiment of political, social, and national ideologies.

With a deep commitment to outreach and education, the company has been teaching studio classes, holding workshops, and residencies in all the educational sectors since 2000. As an active arts educator in public schools for nearly two decades, Shah is a teaching artist in schools across NYC boroughs and tries to reach underserved communities in the arts.

The parul shah dance company has presented around the world and at home to critical acclaim, including CityCenter’s Fall for Dance Festival: NYC, the New Victory Theatre: NYC, the Kennedy Center: Washington D.C, Jazz at Lincoln Center: NYC, Asia Society: NYC, Jacobs Pillow, Inside/ Out series: MA, World Music Institute: NYC, the Japan Forum Foundation: Tokyo, The United Nations Development Program: England and U.S, Suvarna Parva: India, Ahmedabad, and collaborative work in Europe. Shah has also been an Artist in Residence at Mass Mocha, a Teaching Residency for The Yard, and the Fresh Tracks’ Residency at New York Live Arts.

Press Reviews

Parul Shah New York Times Review
New York Times

Alastair Macaulay
The New York Times, NY 2017

"Monday’s event closed with Parul Shah’s display of contemporary Kathak, in which the virtuosically rhythmic turns of the traditional genre alternated with an entirely modern, often expressionist, use of the torso and limbs. Her solo, superbly married to live music by Trina Basu (violin), Jake Charkey (cello) and Narendra Budhakar (tabla), became an internal dialogue about tradition and modernity, as well as a statement of the resilience of women.”

Parul Shah Financial Times Review
Financial Times

Apollinaire Scherr
Financial Times, NY 2017

“Shah’s Enduring Silence, to a score by Trina Basu and Jake Charkey — who also performed it on violin and cello, accompanied by Narendra Budhakar’s plush tabla — was the evening’s most radical piece. It was rooted so deeply in Kathak that Shah could swing far out without losing touch. The classical moves not only acquired new significance but also changed meaning in the solo’s course.”

Parul Shah Natharki Review

Uttara Coorlawala November 6, 2018

“Enduring Silence” was the title of an exquisite Kathak -based contemporary dance choreographed and performed by Parul Shah. Parul thoughtfully integrated gats ( gaits) of Kathak with realistic and abstract gestures to show the plights of women “ facing harsh realities”….I could just keep watching this mesmeric dancer, etching her passionate and complex interweaving lines into my mind.”

Parul Shah New York Times Review
New York Times

Alastair Macaulay
The New York Times, NY 2016

“This is a good company, stylish and vivid; you can feel how its innovations are part of an engagement with the changing nature of Indian society.”

Parul Shah Brooklyn Rail Review
Brooklyn Rail

Garnet Henderson
The Brooklyn Rail, New York, February 5th, 2013

“Parul Shah’s contemporary reimagining of Kathak, a classical Indian dance form. Shah performs in the work alongside dancers Mohip Joarder and Ammr Vandal, and all are stunning: Their supple fluidity coupled with blade-sharp accents make for an absorbing kinesthetic experience. Shah and Vandal also show emotional range in unison moments and solos, emoting with every fiber of their bodies and faces, expressing frustration, anger, and defiance”

Parul Shah New York Times Review
New York Times

Alastair Macaulay
The New York Times, NY 2008

"Parul Shah danced a “Chasing Shadows” solo that brought the house down. Her sources are splendidly hybrid: contemporary dance, the Kathak technique of north India, the female temple-court artists of south India. They are, in fact, her subject. You could feel what her program note stated, “the inner struggle of a woman who wants to move forward but cannot because her shadows are not only her past but the only identity she knows.”