The mission of Indian Performing Arts Samskriti is to be an effective cultural conduit between the East (India) and the West (North America, particularly Texas) by producing and presenting programs which highlight the rich traditional dance forms of India, and by collaborating with other organizations to bring together art forms from other parts of the world.
Samskriti, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘cultural tradition’, was established in 1994 with the vision of becoming an efficient cultural conduit between the East and the West, by bringing the best of Indian fine arts from around the world to Houston audiences, and by promoting cross-cultural programs involving Indian and American artists from different ethnic backgrounds. In its twenty-three years of operation, Samskriti has not only fulfilled its mission successfully but has earned a high reputation as an arts organization specializing in programs that are both unique in content and outstanding in artistic merit, such as “The Durga Project” by Jonathan Hollander’s Battery Dance Company (New York) and Cleveland Cultural Alliance’s “The Living Tree”, which increase audience appreciation for the performing arts of both the East and the West. Samskriti has been a frequent presenter of two very popular programs at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Incredible India and Bollywood Blast, which attract large and diverse audiences from all over Houston.
Samskriti has organized educational seminars and workshops in various genres of Indian art forms by eminent scholars and artists from different countries. Samskriti also does many outreach programs in local schools, hospitals and other community venues.
Samskriti created history by organizing “Indian Dance in the Diaspora” (2001), the first such event in North America, inviting scholars, dance historians, choreographers and performers from India, Canada, UK and the US, and reaching a broad and eclectic audience by publicizing the event to arts communities all over the world. This trail-blazing conference earned Samskriti two National Endowment for the Arts grants for conducting The First International Kuchipudi Dance Conference (2003) and “Indian Dance in a Global Context” (2011) featuring the world-renowned Leela Samson and Kalakshetra Repertory Dance Company in its maiden US tour, facilitated by Samskriti.
Samskriti has collaborated with the Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Asia Society Texas Center, to present three arts-related educational conferences - The Lesser Known Indian Painting Traditions (2007), Miracle on the Mountain (on the paintings of the world famous Ajanta caves - 2009) and Tanjore: A Confluence of Cultures (2010).
Samskriti is a leading organization that has enriched the Houston arts scene by bringing world class artists and scholars and has enlightened and educated audiences about the rich and ancient art forms of India. Art and literature are a country’s greatest treasures. To Samskriti, preserving the rich traditional arts of India in Houston is a responsibility that it has taken on with great joy, and it hopes to continue doing so for many years to come. Agnes deMille was absolutely right - “to understand a nation, listen to its songs, look at its dances”.