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Abhinaya Dance Company’s award-winning founder, artistic director and choreographer Mythili Kumar gives the appearance of a traditional Indian woman, dressed in the garb of her homeland and speaking with a lilting accent. Yet she is also a modern woman with firm convictions in contemporary societal and artistic realms, which becomes apparent when she and Rasika Kumar, her daughter and fellow choreographer, speak of their work. When Mythili founded the company 38 years ago, it performed a lot of classical Hindu mythology-based dances grishko allure pointe shoe reviews. Rasika notes, “Very few dancers in India explore non-traditional themes. From a Western dance perspective it may not seem like a big deal, but what we’re doing is a pretty big deal. It’s certainly not mainstream and the mainstream work has always been confined to a very narrow set of topics or stories.”..
“In 1993 with we collaborated with the Margaret Wingrove Dance Company,” Mythili adds. “She wanted to use a poem by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, an award-winning Indian writer who lived here and was exploring women’s issues.” grishko allure pointe shoe reviews. “Then in 1995 it was the 125th anniversary of Gandhi. The chairman of my board asked if I could do something on him. It was a challenge because I didn’t want him just dancing around the stage.” She says she was instead inspired to think about other world leaders who were influenced by the renowned political activist..
“That’s why I did short pieces on Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, each section about five minutes long,” she adds grishko allure pointe shoe reviews. Similarly, this weekend’s work will consist of half a dozen 10-minute performances tied to varying themes of King’s life and civil rights work and featuring the Bharatanatyam form of Indian dance. Another example of Abhinaya’s commitment to groundbreaking material is the company’s work with a domestic violence group in 2001, in which it translated stories of abuse survivors into dance..
Says Mythili, “Last year I wanted to touch upon the Untouchables in India grishko allure pointe shoe reviews. I wanted to talk about them not being recognized as fellow human beings, still in so many places. King went to India and he was confronted with that. It was a revelation to him; he saw they were treated even worse than his people here in the United States. We wanted to delve deeper and started with Rosa Parks, who helped set off the Montgomery bus boycott with Martin Luther King in his first important political role.”..
Rasika had already choreographed a dance about Parks in 2013 as part of a solo concert titled “Courage,” and now it will be restaged as part of “Stories of Justice.” grishko allure pointe shoe reviews. “Rasika used carnatic music (the classical music of Southern India) played by a saxophonist, who also played a bit of jazz,” says Mythili. “For this piece, I also have a woman who has been the composer and vocalist for our last shows, then there are two percussionists, my other daughter as the cymbal player, and a violinist.”..