Ajeet Kaur Khalsa, Dancer, Yoga Teacher, and Performance Artist of Aprons

Most people try to avoid wearing aprons. What made you want to dance in one?

For me, aprons represent the relationships that exist between the women who live and work in the kitchen—mothers, lovers, daughters, wives, nieces, aunts, grandmothers, friends. Aprons represent the stories women hold and tell each other, the memories of families nourished and lives fully lived.

Do you have one?

Yes, I have the one my grandmother gave me when I was a girl. When she handed it to me, it was her way of saying, "I see you. You are somebody." She gave it to me before a dinner party she was preparing, and we danced around the kitchen together before the guests arrived. I keep it in my kitchen to help me remember her—and also to remember that I have to cook.

So is Aprons autobiographical?

It is inspired by my own life, but it also reflects the stories I collected when I was putting the piece together as part of Carpetbag Theatre's Women Gather project, which was funded by NPN. So there's a lot of me, and bits and piece of women from all over East Tennessee.

Does it tell a story?

Not exactly. It's a full of anecdotes—little one-liners I put together. It's a light, whimsical piece, full of wonder.

Does the performance connect to your yoga practice?

When you tie on an apron, you're tying on a commitment to service—and that's an idea central to Kundalini yoga. My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, reminded us that service is what makes us happy. Service brings joy.

Aprons will be presented at the Bijou Theatre on Friday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. as part of the National Performance Network's 25th anniversary celebration.