My name is Tara Catherine Pandeya, I am a second-generation dancer and choreographer who has been dancing since the age of three. I have been touring the world as a dancer for the last ten years.
In 2010, I ran away with the circus. It was a wild ride that lasted nearly five years and took me to 170 cities across five continents, performing 1,500 shows. You may have heard of Cirque du Soleil; it is a circus known for its dazzling spectacles performed by an army of acrobats, aerialists, trampolinists, actors, musicians - and dancers like myself.
I started striking backbend poses next to landmarks I visited while on tour - mostly for the benefit of my mother and now almost 99-year-old grandma back home in San Francisco. They missed me and had started complaining that I hardly ever sent them photos of myself as I travelled on the road (on tour we changed to a new city or country on Sunday nights every week).
The backbend – is a distinctive shape in Central Asian dance, which is my passion - became my signature pose. When I set my mind to something I don’t easily let go, and in the following years my family and friends received backbend shots from over 60 locations around the globe.
I have to admit that often my life on tour has been so fast paced that I sometimes don’t even remember being at some of the locations shown in my pictures. Some are unforgettable though, such as the time we waited in the dark in -30C weather to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, hiking up a rock to bend at the ‘Roof of the World’ in the Pamir mountains, jumping up on the back of a psychedelically decorated truck in a truck depot in Karachi, Pakistan while bewildered truck drivers looked on and most recently on the coast of bright green Northern Ireland at Dunluce Caste. These shots soon became something of a tradition for me, one I have continued since leaving Cirque a few years back. My travel schedule hasn’t changed much: I moved to Central Asia to live, research, and perform professionally in the dance styles of this region, styles which I am classically trained.
I will make a book or calendar with all the backbends soon and I am currently working on my first one-woman show, to be premiered in Berlin on Oct.20-21st, 2017 supported by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which will bring together contemporary elements of these dances, along with relevant social commentary on gender and the concept of being ‘other’.
#1 California, United States At The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge In Tara's Home City. Photo Credit: Daniel Bahmani
#2 Paris, France At The Eiffel Tower. Photo Credit Assunta Sebastian
#3 Sughd, Tajikistan At Iskanderkul (a Lake Named After Alexander The Great). Photo Credit Jason Fong
#4 Belfast, Ireland At Dunluce Castle. Photo Credit Stacy Teague
#5 Fairbanks, Alaska Outside Of The Carlson Center. Photo Credit Timothy Hasting
#6 In Khorog, Badakhshan, In The 'pamirs' The Roof Of The World. Photo Credit Roma Buryaek
#7 Lokrum, 'peacock' Island, Croatia. Photo Credit Marisa Vest
#8 Milan, Italy At Duomo Di Milano. Photo Credit Catherine Framm
#9 Doha, Qatar At The Islamic Art Museum. Photo Credit Courtenay Stevens
#10 Athens, Greece At The Parthenon. Photo Credit Ellen Pugliese