Dance/USA was pleased to host the Opening Plenary speakers for the Dance/USA 2016 Annual Conference: Ron Berry (Fusebox Festival), Sandra Organ Solis (Choreographer, Teacher), Eliot Gray Fisher (ARCOS Dance), and Prakash Mohandas (Agni Entertainment).
Berry moderated a discussion between Organ Solis, Fisher, and Mohandas, an all Austinite line-up. Each of these speakers represented an area from the programmatic elements of the Conference: financing dance, technological change, and the social responsibility of dance. The speakers were part of the kick-off for the Conference on Thursday, June 9, 2016 from 11:00am- 12:30pm CT at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. The Opening Plenary was live streamed here. Each speaker joined us for the duration of the Conference and once again took the stage at the Closing Plenary on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 12:00pm- 1:00pm CT at Ballet Austin to share their experiences from various programming sessions at the Conference.
Prakash Mohandas is a dancer, instructor, actor, musician, filmmaker, philanthropist, and a successful entrepreneur. He is the founder of Agni Dance, the first Bollywood dance company and academy in Austin, TX and also currently serves as an instructor at Ballet Austin. He is also the founder and CEO of Agni Entertainment, a film and theater company which produces, promotes, and distributes independent film and theater projects globally.
Mohandas produced and starred in Om Shanti, Texas's first large scale Bollywood musical. He has created productions such as Lanka and has also recently created a touring production that brings together Physics and Dance called Strings of Time.
In the arena of film, Mohandas has been successful in producing a series of short films that have been featured at various film festivals and a feature film called Food for Thought that is now available online on Amazon Prime. He is currently working on a film fund that will fund three mainstream South Asian feature films to be produced in 2017 and a media and entertainment news platform called NRI Glitz that aims at popularizing film professionals working on south Asian films made outside of India.
Mohandas is also involved in philanthropic projects namely Danscribe - a movement that aims to create a language for dance through Braille and also supports various other not-for-profits. He serves on the board of numerous other entrepreneurial and cultural organizations in Austin. Mohandas was recently featured by Roshni Media in their book called Global and Emerging Leaders recognizing him as one of the top hundred emerging South Asian Leaders under the futurists category.
Mohandas also currently has his hands full with a gamut of new projects which include the next big touring Broadway style musical project called Disco Deewane, a three-part fantasy novel called Lanka, two new business ideas, and an arts foundation called the Well-Fed Artists Fund.