Home Entertainment A dance production unfolds the story of the mysterious river Saraswati

A dance production unfolds the story of the mysterious river Saraswati

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A dance production unfolds the story of the mysterious river Saraswati

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From ‘Invoking the river’.

‘Invoking the river’ is an interesting production, which tells the story of a river through visuals and music and dance performances. It has been conceived by the San Francisco-based Chitresh Das Institute. The music is by pianist Utsav Lal of New York. Tabla artiste Zuheb Ahmed, who is based in Delhi, was roped in for the India tour of the production, which premiered in 2022 in San Francisco and San Jose.

The river being invoked is the mysterious Saraswati. Alka Raghuram opens the show narrating how river Ganga descends on earth from Shiva’s locks. The sounds of the gentle lapping of water and crashing waves set the tone as four dancers, representing four rivers, enter the stage. The costumes in blue, deep green and black evoked the subliminal image of water while the gold Benarasi motifs sparkled with the movements. It brought alive the imagery of light on water.

The tabla kept the Teentaal beat to match the dancers’ footwork. Choreographer Charlotte Moraga described the piece as representing river Alaknanda’s joyful journey to earth.

The production comprised six pieces, each one telling a different story. The choreography also aptly focussed on the rivers being choked by pollutants. Mayuka Sarukkai powerful portrayal was accompanied by Utsav’s staccato notes on the piano.

Shruti Pai chose the story of social reformer Kandukuri Veerasalingam to depict river Godavari. Brought up in Rajamundry, a town by the side of the river, Veerasalingam worked for women’s rights. Through raag Kedara and Jhaptaal, Shruti’s performance threw light on the lives of widows.

The final piece, which brought together all the four dancers, extolled river Saraswati, who it said today exists only in hymns. The use of pure dance here was refreshing.

What made this production engaging was the coming together of different genres of music and a diverse movement vocabulary. The props, background music, and costumes enhanced the effect.

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