The mission of Thresh is to create productions which foster provocative dialogue around questions of identity, and focus on our relationship with heritage cultures within the context of contemporary life.
Thresh is a performing arts collaborative founded in 2005 by Preeti Vasudevan, a leading exponent of the classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam). Working between India and the U.S., Thresh collaborates with a broad range of international artists and has presented works at major venues and arts festivals in India, the United States and Europe. Thresh creates dance-theater productions that explore a contemporary movement language specifically derived from the gestures, rhythms and storytelling techniques of Indian classical dance-theater.
The company’s vision is to extend its creative exploration to a broad gathering of society and examine the individual and collective roles of artists and audience in an increasingly globalized society. The ultimate aim of Thresh is to encourage the exposure of vulnerabilities within individuals by providing a nurturing environment and creative expression through the arts harnessing self worth and empowerment in each individual’s true cultural narrative which represents the combined sentiments of the larger community.
Founder & Artistic Director
Preeti Vasudevan with children of Madison Elementary, Des Moines, Iowa, USA (a Turnaround Arts school)
Preeti Vasudevan is an award-winning choreographer and performer creating provocative contemporary works from her Indian tradition. Founder and Artistic Director of Thresh Performing Arts Collaborative, her mission is to create experimental productions that foster a provocative dialogue with identity, and our relationship with heritage cultures and contemporary life.
Preeti is the first artist of Indian descent to receive recognitions from top institutions in the US for her outstanding contribution to dance.
Some highlights include: 2019 Dance Lab New York / Joyce Theater Foundation Creation Grant; ; 2019 Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Leaders in Dance; 2018 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists; 2018 Selected Artist, DanceMotion USA Follow-On Program with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); 2018 Jerome Robbins Dance Division’s Dance Research Fellowship, NY; 2018-19 LabWorks Residency, New Victory Theater, NY; 2018-19 SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers) Foundation’s 2018-2019 Observership Class; Spring 2016 Resident Fellow, Center for Ballet and the Arts, NY; Live Feed - Artist in Residence, New York Live Arts (2015-17) NY; 2015 DPA Atelier award, LIMS, NY; Presenter, TEDxBarnard, Barnard College, Columbia University, NY (2013); International Choreographer's Residency, American Dance Festival (ADF, 2003); Emerging choreographer series Joyce Foundation, NY (2003).
Preeti travels regularly to India continuing her artistic development between New York and India. Some her works have received the highest awards in India, which include: 3 META (Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards) awards for The Absent Lover (2009) and 7 Meta Nominations for Savitri (2013).
Commissions include Stories by Hand, New York Live Arts, NY (2017) Veiled Moon, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015 (NY); Boxed, National Dance Institute, NY (2014); Drumming a Dream, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2009) NY; The Absent Lover, Prakriti Foundation, India (2008).
Cultural Diplomacy is key to Preeti’s work through education. As an artist alumna of the US Department of State she leads ground-breaking educational initiatives encouraging self expression and artistic risk through cross-cultural creative exchange among artists and the community.
Preeti partners her educational and creative leadership with world-impacting organizations as Silkroad founded by legendary musician Yo-Yo Ma and the National Dance Institute founded by celebrated dancer Jacques D’Amboise.
Preeti’s ground-breaking educational website, Dancing for the Gods (in collaboration with the Dept of Education, NYC) has been developed to build a cultural bridge through creative Indian dance and used in NYC Public Schools.
Preeti holds a Master's in Dance Studies from Laban Centre London and is a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies, NY.
Ras Dia (Director of Programming)
Ras Dia, a native of New York City, is an arts producer, curator, and director who specializes in multi-disciplinary live arts and broadcast programming, and endeavors to highlight the role of the arts as a platform for global advocacy, social and cultural equity, and sustainable youth engagement.
In addition to his work with Thresh, Ras is the Assistant Producer (Live in HD) at the Metropolitan Opera, and is the co-creator of SAUCE, a series he co-curated at National Sawdust, where he also produced the Artists-in-Residence program.
Lisa Willis (Director of Development)
Lisa Willis is a passionate professional who has managed and supported the development of a variety of multidisciplinary projects in the classical and commercial performing arts sectors. She was the founding Operations Manager for CAMI Music, establishing and managing the daily operations and administrative protocols for the company in addition to overseeing the touring and artistic logistics for Lang Lang, Tan Dun, Savion Glover, American Ballet Theatre, Cirque Eloize and Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández.
Lisa has served in multiple programmatic and artistic administration roles for the Kimmel Center, Mann Center, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, and Jazz Reach. She has also worked in A&R Admin and Copyright on various labels for SONY Music Ent., BMG and EMI Music N.A. Lisa currently works for New York Live Arts as their Institutional Giving Manager.
Chase Kuesel (Booking Manager)
Chase Kuesel is a performer/composer and arts activist based in Brooklyn, NY. As an organizer, he has helped to present engagements at a wide variety of venues including the Blue Note Jazz Club, Intersection for the Arts, and Scholes St. Studios.
From 2015-2016, Chase was President of the Oberlin Jazz Society, which allowed him to curate a year’s work of music performances by internationally-renowned musicians including Linda Oh, Taylor McFerrin, Steve Coleman, and Fred Hersch. Chase has also helped to book his own ensembles on multiple tours throughout the United States and abroad, securing performances at venues including the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, Mackinac Arts Council, and San Jose Jazz Festival.
Séverine Kaufman (Media Manager)
Séverine Kaufman is an arts administrator, performer and choreographer from New York City. She holds a BA from Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) in Dance and Arts History. Séverine has performed and choreographed at Rogue Space (New York, NY), the Hill Theater (Gambier, OH), the Bolton Theater (Gambier, OH), the Horn Gallery (Gambier, OH) and Gund Gallery (Gambier, OH).
She has most recently created movement for Sir Babygirl’s upcoming music video Cheerleader. Séverine is currently the Development & Communications Assistant at Danspace Project and additionally works with Thresh and Tiffany Mills Company.