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Leela Dance Collective: Imagine India

Leela Dance Collective’s show Imagine India begins with a traditional invocation to evoke courage and strength. This focuses the dancers to perform their opening dynamic and rhythmic dance called “Malkauns Tarana.” Students then have the opportunity to learn hand gestures (mudras) through the telling of a traditional story of how a young boy named Krishna cleverly defeated the evil creature Kalia Daman. “Thaat,” a classic piece from India’s medieval era, demonstrates the distinctions and characteristics of the northwestern and northeastern styles of kathak. From medieval India, the performance progresses to modern India where dance and music moved from the courts onto performance areas in front of an audience. “Kathak Yoga” is a 20th century composition that highlights the thrilling dynamics of classical dance and music of Northern India. The final piece features a sawaal-jawaab (call and response) between the dancers and the musicians. Throughout the performance, students learn about other traditions, such as dress, ghungroos (ankle bells worn by dancers), footwork patterns, hand gestures and facial expressions (abhinaya).

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