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HomeEntertainmentA Dance Production Narrates the Story of the Enigmatic River Saraswati

A Dance Production Narrates the Story of the Enigmatic River Saraswati

“Invoking the river” is a captivating production that narrates the tale of a river through a blend of visuals, music, and dance performances. Conceived by the San Francisco-based Chitresh Das Institute, the production premiered in 2022 in San Francisco and San Jose. The musical composition is crafted by pianist Utsav Lal from New York, while tabla artist Zuheb Ahmed from Delhi joined the India tour of the production.

The focal point of “Invoking the river” is the enigmatic Saraswati river. Alka Raghuram initiates the performance by narrating the descent of the Ganga river from Shiva’s locks. The ambiance is set with sounds of gentle water lapping and crashing waves, as four dancers, symbolizing different rivers, grace the stage. Their costumes, adorned with blue, deep green, and black hues, evoke the essence of water, shimmering with gold Benarasi motifs, bringing to life the imagery of light dancing on water.

The tabla sets the rhythm with the Teentaal beat, synchronizing with the dancers’ footwork. Choreographer Charlotte Moraga describes one piece as representing river Alaknanda’s joyous journey to earth.

The production comprises six pieces, each narrating a unique story. The choreography adeptly addresses the issue of rivers being polluted. Mayuka Sarukkai’s dynamic portrayal, accompanied by Utsav’s staccato piano notes, captivates the audience.

Shruti Pai selects the story of social reformer Kandukuri Veerasalingam to depict river Godavari. Veerasalingam, hailing from Rajamundry, worked tirelessly for women’s rights. Through raag Kedara and Jhaptaal, Shruti’s performance sheds light on the plight of widows.

The concluding piece celebrates river Saraswati, emphasizing that it now exists only in hymns. The use of pure dance in this segment brings a refreshing element to the production.

What makes “Invoking the river” engaging is the fusion of diverse musical genres and movement vocabularies. The incorporation of props, background music, and costumes further enhances the overall effect, creating a mesmerizing experience for the audience.