Every year, a quiet gathering of classical dancers in the Bay Area takes place on Maha Shivaratri- Shiva is after all, the Lord of Dance. The forum, besides being an offering to Shiva, is an excellent venue for dancers and rasikas to mingle, share ideas, present, and get feedback from fellow-dancers and arts-enthusiasts on their performances and choreographies. Anuradha Prabhashanker, a Bharatanatyam dancer, is the principal organizer. She, in partnership with few other volunteer artists, puts together a theme every December and invites item-submissions from classical dancers based in or visiting the Bay Area.
The theme this year is “Tandava, Temples, and Tales,” and has a superlative line-up of performers who are gurus, a sure treat for the audience. “Temples” is an artistic offering by 30+ dancers from across various schools, and is poised to steal the show. The piece, Shiva Panchakshara Stuti, was originally presented by 1000 dancers at the Brihadeeswara temple in Tamil Nadu as the “Rajarajeswaram 1000,” part of the celebratory events marking the completion of 1000 years of the temple. Choreographed by the renowned Padma Subrahmanyam, it was an extraordinary event that re-established the connection between divinity and dance for the dancers and audience alike.
Radhika Shankar, disciple of Guru Subrahmanyam and a well-known Bay Area name will lead the others in this Stuti.
The evening’s program will commence with bhajans and is front loaded with Odissi performances interspersed with a talk by Dr. Tulasi Ramachandra, artistic director of Nritalaya Trust (Mysore), on the Ancient Dance Forms of South India. Odissi will be represented by artistic director of Srjan, Ratikant Mohapatra (one hopes to hear Mohapatra’s “hypnotic” playing of the Mardala as well as see him perform in a style known to be evocative of his father, the legendary Kelucharan Mohapatra), artistic director of Guru Shradha, Niharika Mohanty, and artistic director of Jyoti Kala Mandir, Jyoti Rout.
An interesting ensemble in Kathak will be presented by artistic directors Dipanwita Sengupta (California Nupur), Sangita Nandy (Kathak Kala Vihar), and Pragya Dasgupta (Tarana).
Stellar Bharatanatyam performers have been sprinkled throughout the program, including artistic directors such as Nirupama Vaidhyanathan (Sankalpa), Priya Chandrasekar (Natya), Vidhya Subramanian (Lasya), Gargi Panchangam (Samarpana), Deepa Mahadevan (Thiruchitrambalam), and Shirni Kanth (Mythri Natyalaya). Individual artists, namely Sindhu Ravuri (Kuchipudi) and Kavita Thirumalai (Bharatanatyam) will also be performing.
When: Wednesday, March 2, 6:15-9pm
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, Main Hall, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Admission: FREE (RSVP required via email, limited seating- Donations welcome)
Contact: 408-252-6046, firstname.lastname@example.org