LittleThings Shine: Choreographer Ani Taj Discusses Her Unique Approach To Performance

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

As a kid, I begged and pleaded with my mom to let me take dance classes. She finally gave in and dutifully took me from store to store to purchase the proper shoes and attire for the lessons. I couldn’t wait to learn all the steps and have the opportunity to show my moves off at my first recital. Unfortunately, as my mom probably guessed would happen, my focus drifted away after only a few classes, and I quit to move on to my next hobby.

Choreographer Ani Taj found herself in a similar situation when she was young and enrolled in her first ballet class. She soon discovered how much she enjoyed tap dancing. From there, her passion for the art form grew and shifted into her own unique perspective on performance. You can find Taj’s routines featured in several music videos, but it’s her work with the Dance Cartel that really excites her.

Taj founded the group a few years ago with a mission to embrace dance that, as she describes on their website, is “vibrant, immersive and often participatory.” Essentially, she wants to encourage everyone to be able to express themselves without having to stress the overly stuffy and technical aspects so often associated with dance troupes. When attending their performances, chances are that you’ll end up joining the Cartel members before it’s over.

Dressed in bright colors and makeup, the crew’s insatiable energy is impossible to deny. Take a look at the video from filmmaker Kaz PS to hear more from Taj.

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Shine is a six-part series directed by Kaz PS and produced by LittleThings that profiles powerful female artists who deserve global exposure. Each four- to six-minute episode shines a direct spotlight on a single artist with a unique perspective.

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