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A story of resistance told through dance: The Indian revolutionary who immigrated to S.F.



Dancer and choreographer Joti Singh grew up in Georgia, the daughter of immigrants from Punjab, India. But Singh’s parents were not her first ancestors to come to the United States.


In the early 1900s, her great-grandfather Bhagwan Singh Gyanee arrived in San Francisco’s Mission District. He became a member of the Ghadar Party, which plotted to provide arms to anti-colonial resistance fighters in India via Germany during World War I. Therein lies a fascinating and little-known piece of Mission District history that Singh explores in “Ghadar Geet: Blood and Ink,” her new dance for the troupe she co-directs, Duniya Dance and Drum Company. It premieres Friday, May 12, and runs through the weekend at Dance Mission Theater.


Presented by the When Eyes Speak South Asian Choreography Festival, “Ghadar Geet” includes a 90-minute Radical History Walking Tour of the Mission District before two of its three performances.


The Chronicle spoke with Singh about her great-grandfather’s complex legacy, as well as the roof-raising dancing that his geet, or songs of resistance, have inspired.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


Read the full interview here: https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/dance/indian-revolutionary-sf-dance-ghadar-gheet-18081542

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