Available for on-demand streaming from April 23 until June 30. Once you rent the presentation on Vimeo, you will have unlimited access for 72 hours. Closed captioning provided.
Our annual Dancing the Gods festival of Indian Dance celebrates its 11th year, again in a virtual presentation and featuring two of India’s leading dancers. Each program begins with a slide presentation by Rajika Puri, festival curator and acclaimed danced storyteller.
For Dancing the Gods 2022, Kasi presents the world premiere of a series of Kuchipudi works, working in conjunction with a talented group of musicians.
Kasi Aysola is a performer, choreographer and nattuvangam artist based in the United States. Apart from his solo performances, as Artistic Director of Prakriti Dance, he also collaborates with and trains artists across America. Moreover, he is renowned for his original rhythmic compositions and the musical acumen with which he has accompanied dance artists like Rama Vaidyanathan, Mythili Prakash, and Janaki Rangarajan, all of whom have appeared in Dancing the Gods over the years.
Apart from recognition from a host of funding and presenting organizations across America, he was also invited by Akram Khan to attend his first Indian Classical Dance Intensive in London in the fall of 2019.
About Festival Curator and Presenter Rajika Puri
Rajika Puri performed internationally in solo recitals of Bharatanatyam and Odissi for several years, before she was launched into western theatre by Julie Taymor in Lincoln Center Theater’s “The Transposed Heads”. The success of that role encouraged her to develop a form of danced storytelling she calls ‘Sutradhari Natyam’ in which she intersperses an English narration with excerpts from dances, spoken rhythms and chants as well as songs in Indian languages. In her full-length work: ‘Eleni of Sparta’ or ‘Helen of Troy’, she even sings in ancient Greek. Rajika has performed all over Latin America, Europe, Malaysia, the US and India; in New York, at the Asia Society and Ailey Theatres.
Kuchipudi is a dance form rooted in the theatrical and dance traditions of Andhra Pradesh, named for the village – also known as Kuchelapuram – where it originated. Traditionally it was performed by troupes of male actor-dancers who presented full-length plays, often lasting all night, to celebrate festivals dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Alongside this tradition developed a solo form, which is today popular around the world.
Kasi Aysola’s style of kuchipudi was visualized by legendary Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, and further culled by his late son Sri Vempati Ravi Shankar. Its movement language is characterized by graceful torso movements, undulating energy, and lively expressive storytelling, all set to an upbeat sound score.
Watch the trailer and Festival Curator Rajika Puri’s presentation “Storytelling in India”
Presentation music courtesy of Composer, Singer: Mame Khan, Song title: “Lolee”, from the Album: Desert Sessions www.mamekhan.com