Dance India | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dance India 

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When dance has roots in nontheatrical culture, questions of authenticity and respect for tradition tend to come up. So it's no surprise that this five-day festival of Indian dance, sponsored by Natya Dance Theatre and the Department of Cultural Affairs, addresses such issues. Friday night promises to deliver the best of the traditional: internationally known bharata natyam dancer Priyadarsini Govind (from Chennai, India) performs with a live orchestra, remaining true to temple tradition by dancing solo. She's acclaimed for her abhinaya, or ability to convey the emotions behind the form's religious stories. Saturday night features an ensemble bharata natyam piece, Spanda, by Leela Samson (also from Chennai). Known both as an innovator and as a choreographer steeped in tradition, she's said that what Indian dance needs is not formulas or a hodgepodge of change but "organic growth." Two pieces will be performed Sunday afternoon: a collaboration between kathak choreographer Kumudini Lakhia and bharata natyam choreographer Hema Rajagopalan, and Krithika Rajagopalan and Anita Ratnam's tribute to poet A.K. Ramanujan. (See listing for information about free performances.) Fri-Sat 9/8-9/9, 7:30 PM, Sun 9/10, 2:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State, 312-212-1240 or natya.com, $15-$30.

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