Ushas: Dawn of a New Day
Ushas, the goddess of dawn is a popular Vedic deity in India. Adorned in the colors of crimson, white and gold, she is radiant and forever youthful. She brings honor, light and hope to everyone. Ushas gives life to all beings: waking sleepers from their seeming death, arousing birds from their nests and sending people to their appointed tasks. She removes darkness, symbolizes reality and marks time. As the daughter of heaven, Ushas welcomes each day with abundant possibilities.
Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form from India, is one of the most profound art forms of the world today. Dancers focus on a mastery of abstract movements, stylized hand gestures, and employ a complex system of facial expressions and body language to depict images and stories
Ushas was a part of a full-length choreography titled ‘Soorya Kanti’ which was staged in 1997 at the James Armstrong Theatre in Torrance.
Malathi Iyengar choreographed and reworked Ushas: Dawn of a New Day for the project For The Love Of L.A. presented by The Music Center and Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles.
Ushas features the original music that was composed by Rajkumar Bharathi (Chennai, India) for Rangoli Dance Company in 1996.
The costumes are specific to Bharatanatyam dance with a few embellishments to show the beauty of the golden hour in the morning.
Sculpture of Ganesha and Hanuman
Suresh Iyengar just completed sculpting a new image of Ganesha using Styrofoam. This will become a part of the choreography in addition to the sculpture of Hanuman.
Ganesha Festival is on August 22, 2020 this year and the celebration marks the birth of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha, the god of prosperity, wisdom, and new beginnings.
Ushas: Dawn of a New Day
Choreography: Malathi Iyengar
Dancers: Shivani Aysola, Vyshnavi Aysola, Nina Krishnan, Nishitha Viswanathan and Anshu Voruganti
Music Composition: Rajkumar Bharathi
Costume Design: Lakshmi Iyengar
Sculpture: Suresh Iyengar
Recording artists in the music score:
Vocals: Rajkumar Bharathi and Jahnavi Jayaprakash
Cymbals: Guru Narmada and Malathi Iyengar
Mridangam: Gurumuthy G.
Violin: Kalairasan Ramanathan
Veena: Rajesh Vaidhya
Morsing: A S Krishnan
Sound Engineer: Radhakrishna, Chennai, India – 1996
Remastered: Omkar Studios, Bangalore, India - 2020
Filmed in Rangoli Space
There are certain compelling, universal ideas that drive my work, and my goal is always to find the most exciting ways to use choreography to best serve them.
I am constantly looking to answer certain choreographic questions: How can I refine an idea down to its core essence? How does a dance's structure determine its “story”? How does timing affect meaning? I am fascinated by how narrative can be utilized in many ways. While I am a true believer in high level of technique and dramatic clarity, there is extensive room for interpretation—every work is open-ended, asking the audience to determine its own response. Movement choices are very much determined by the needs of the piece. When people refer to my work as "poetic", I believe that is what they are noting: the way the movements are fully at the service of the ideas. I believe that good dance reveals both truth and mystery.
The creative urge ignites these factors. Inspiration alludes to inner whisperings.
The connection we build with our audiences is divine and rewarding. Audience participation and response is inspiring and pushes my imagination beyond the obvious. Audiences may forget what we presented but they will never forget how we made them feel.
We are faced with a new situation with chorreographing and performing during the pandemic. We have lost the experience of performing on stage and being with the audience. We miss the magic that happens during a live performance. Bodies with phenomenal physical abilities are confined with limited possibilities for expression and space.
Creating during this period has been challenging. The process has been slow but has evolved as a direct response to the global crisis.
Ushas: Dawn of a New Day creatively explores the possibilities within these restrictions, observing social distancing guidelines during rehearsals and finally coming together to film the dance. The theme is a celebration of hope and light.
—Malathi Iyengar, August 22, 2020
About the Company
Rangoli Dance Company features the vibrant South Indian dance form ‘Bharatanatyam’ through strong technique, story telling and intricate gestures and expressions. Choreographer Malathi Iyengar draws from the myth and spirituality of classical Indian heritage and creates dance landscapes that dwell in both traditional and secular and rhythm and stillness. The dances convey a sense of reverence & mystery and are offered in the spirit of universal celebration.