Judson Manor resident, artist collaborates with Indian dancer

Jo Steinhurst is a connoisseur of all things Asian and Indian.  When she and her husband Hyman moved to Cleveland in 2007, she quickly learned where all the best restaurants were in town–uncovering a few places even unfamiliar to Cleveland natives!  She also teaches the quiet, contemplative art form of Oriental brush painting to fellow residents.

So it makes sense that the Judson Manor resident struck up a friendship with Indian dancer, Sanjib Bhattacharya, who lived at the Manor for two months this fall courtesy of the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion Program.  A resident of New Dehli, Sanjib led workshops in Indian culture and dance for all Judson residents.  He also served at Cleveland’s Rainey Institute as its international artist-in-residence, leading workshops with inner city youth.

“He’s a very friendly guy. We had him over for dinner and he shared his incredible story–at one point he lost everything in a fire,” says Jo.  “Then he did the dishes!”

Later, we got to talking and he said he wanted to choreograph something for the two of us.  I was a little apprehensive at first, but he was great to work with and kept it within my comfort zone.”

“We rehearsed for an hour every morning for about ten days leading up to the performance.  It was semi-adlibbed, which kept it spontaneous.  It was an experience I’ll never forget,” says Jo.  “Whoever thought at 89 I’d be performing with a 43-year-old dancer?” The piece meshed painting and dance-as Jo painted shapes, Sanjib interpreted the shapes through movement.  It debuted during Sanjib’s colorful November 27 farewell performance at Judson Manor.

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