AUG 15 | In-Person & Livestreamed
Two leading practitioners of the South Indian classical form of Kuchipudi share the Festival stage on August 15th, the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence. Rathna Kumar, the first artist to put Indian dance on the map in Texas, will reveal the intricacies of the form in performances by her disciples. Swathi Gundapuneedi-Atluri, who established Siddhendra Kuchipudi Dance Company and Academy in New Jersey, will present duets and ensemble choreography by Sri Hari Ramamurthy.
Presentation of the Day of Indian Dance is made possible in part by The State Bank of India.
In-person: 7pm EDT at Robert F. Wagner Park. Click here for directions.
The video will be available to watch for 10 days after the premiere and will expire on Aug 25th.
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SIDDHENDRA KUCHIPUDI DANCE COMPANY
This opening piece is an homage to Indian Lord Ganesha, the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. The God is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and science and intellectual wisdom. As the God of beginnings, he is honored at the start of all Hindu rituals and ceremonies.
In this piece, Indian Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort, is described as a wave of loveliness and the one who grants comfort to those that depend on her. One who is served by devas and vedas, who is worshiped by the lotus-like words of the composer.
The dancers praise Indian Lord Shankara who adorns the moon on his head and who brings happiness to Goddess Parvati. He likes eighteen musical instruments and has perfected the percussion instrument ‘maddala’ and is a scholar in music. He is the blissful Somaskanda – symbol of eternity of cosmos. Lord Shankara is known for his splendid cosmic dance.
This euphonious, rhythmic and demanding dance brings out the full joy and beauty of pure dance steps performed on rhythmic syllables followed by abhinaya to the charanams, or lyrics, of the song. Thillana is considered as the best of all pure dances & some of the striking features of it are rhythmic patterns coupled with intricate footwork, sculpturesque poses and graceful movements.
About the Company
Under the artistic direction of founder Guru Swathi, Siddhendra Kuchipudi Art Academy provides Kuchipudi training throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Siddhendra Kuchipudi Art Academy carefully balances creative innovation with classical traditions, maintaining the cultural integrity of the classical Kuchipudi style. The Siddhendra Kuchipudi Art Academy is devoted to promoting cultural understanding through Kuchipudi and ensuring the legacy of this art form for future generations.
ANJALI DANCE COMPANY
Shiva Nataraja, the Indian God with three eyes, wears a garland of snakes, has ash smeared on his body, the sacred river Ganga flowing from his matted locks, and a bow in hands. He is accompanied by his consort Parvathi and his faithful devotee Nandi.
Ganesha, Indian God of Auspicious Beginnings, and the embodiment of the primordial sound Aum, brings joy to the celestials and to his devotees with his beautiful dance, synchronizing his movements perfectly to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets.
The grace of the Kuchipudi style, combined with the exciting pace of the musical composition, make this a very vibrant and physically challenging dance that bears witness to the dancers’ mastery over technique.
About the Company
Renowned Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi exponent Rathna Kumar is credited with establishing the Anjali Center for Performing Arts in 1975, the first Indian dance institute in Texas, and one of the first in the US. Her decades long very successful career as a performer, teacher, arts educator and published author also resulted in her becoming the only Indian American recipient of the Govt. of India’s most prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Kuchipudi. Rathna is also Artistic Director of Samskriti, a non profit arts organization, a member of the International Dance Council, a Teaching Artist with the Young Audiences of Houston, and teaches Bharatanatyam at Rice University.