The Big Dance
Photo by Lucia Escott

The Big Dance

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By John M. Hayden

The pulsing music. The infectious rhythm. The amazing moves being so tough that you pull a muscle just watching. The Peter London Global Dance Company (PLGDC) has set the standard for contemporary dance in South Florida for years. Now the company is dancing to the beat of a new Executive Director. Kal Gajraj just got the job and is sharing with OutClique about his ambitious plans for the troupe. “I love what this company does to share the rich and diverse cultural heritage of dance with people of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds in South Florida. The company exists to create new works by Peter London, and showcase these programs through South Florida, and globally. I am honored to continue and grow the tradition to educate and train local dancers in South Florida that have not traditionally had the opportunity to realize their tremendous talents professionally and share them with the world.”

With a marketing degree, a Masters in Nonprofit Public Administration, and an MBA, Kal’s got the educational chops to take the reins, and says he’s excited to pair his business knowledge with his love of the arts. “I’ve always been passionate about the arts. From a young age I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to musical theatre, broadway, ballet, and museums.” And helping the local arts scene is personal to Kal. “It’s also important to me to support and promote the art forms that my fellow LGBTQIA+ friends have devoted their lives and careers to. I have many friends who are actors, singers, dancers, and entertainers who work very hard on their craft and we should equally be there to support them.”

Photo by JJ Blanco

He’s not only connected to the arts community, he’s passionately connected to our area. Kal’s a first-generation-American after his grandparents emigrated from Guyana. He was born in New York, but says South Florida has always been home. “My family moved to Florida when I was very young, and attended elementary, middle, high school, and college locally. My father helped start a shipping company based in Miami focused on transporting products and goods to Guyana, Trinidad, and all of the Caribbean. I lived most of my life in South Florida, it’s the only home I’ve ever known!”

Kal will need those passions and professional skills to bring the PLGDC through some rough times ahead. The novel COVID-19 pandemic is putting the new season in jeopardy. All performances are on hold, and restarting the company will be a team decision. “We’re in conversations with city officials, the department of cultural affairs, leaders of other arts organizations, and venue administrations about how this will impact our performances. The safety and health of our audience and artists are our top priority.” That doesn’t mean the dancers are just sitting around. “We are looking at creative ways to bring our performances virtually, if needed, when we start next season. Currently, we are conducting choreography and rehearsals online via Zoom®.”

He has faith that better days are ahead. “I’ve been a huge fan of PLGDC for years, attending programs, and watching them grow year after year. As the company’s founding executive director, my goal is to implement a plan of strategic growth in grant programs, development, branding, and outreach, building on the successes of Peter London, Founder, Choreographer, and Artistic Director.”

Photo Courtesy of PLGDC

For updates on the 2020/2021 season and for eventual schedule and ticket information, visit www.PLGDC.org.