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Spectacular ‘Cinderella in India’ dance version

Spectacular ‘Cinderella in India’ dance version
December 07
06:24 2017

Monica and Ishita in St Louis dance performance

ST LOUIS: Dances of India, one of the oldest, continuously running classical Indian dance companies in the United States, recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary Performance at the Skip Viragh Center of the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri.

The company pulled out all the stops as it presented a strikingly original take on Cinderella, in Devi of the Ashes-Cinderella in India. In a script written and narrated by Nartana Prem, Artistic Director Asha Prem’s daughter, Devi of the Ashes took viewers to the ancient courts of India, complete with two sets of swayamvaras! Theckla Mehta, co-director of the company, choreographed this Indian spin on a beloved Western tale.

The performance also featured a feast of traditional Bharatanatyam. Company dancers were graceful and playful in a piece entitled Yenimahanandave, which ended with dancers presenting an enchanting take on a solar eclipse.

Guest performer Sanjay Shantaram of Shiva Priya School of Dance in Bengaluru choreographed a dynamic Arishad Varga, in which dancers brought to life six basic emotions in vividly portrayed classic Indian stories.

Kiran Rajagopalan, a former student of Asha Prem and now a professional Bharatanatyam dancer in NYC, performed Ardhanarishwara majestically. He brought into being – seemingly without effort – the distilled force of Shiva and graceful power of Parvati.

Patrick Suzeau, a professor of contemporary dance at Kansas University in Lawrence presented a breathtaking piece, Moksha, which fused Odissi and contemporary dance. His inner strength and supreme fluidity of body were a joy to watch.

All in all, the performance was stunning and a fitting testament to the drive of the late Dr. Prem, founder of the company, who wanted to showcase and share this traditional performing arts form with the entire St. Louis community. Dances of India has succeeded in fulfilling his vision; the company had their largest and most diverse audience ever.

As one audience member put it, “Now it’s time for the next 40!”.

Ashwin Patel

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