In Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's story A Little Princess, the titular princess is Sara Crewe, a young girl whose wealthy father enrolls her in boarding school while he goes off to India to tend to his business empire. Sadly, Father dies, and the girl is forced to become a menial servant at school to pay off her tuition. But all is not misery, as Sara has a powerful imagination, and she escapes into fantasy and a childlike conviction that she will be rescued. Nartana Premachandra has adapted Burnett's story into the Indian classical dance performance The Little Rani, which is equally inspired by the tale of the goddess Sita's abduction. Sita is taken captive by King Ravana of Lanka and endures similar hardships as Burnett's little princess; interestingly, both stories, despite being from different cultures and eras, hinge upon the idea of suffering being necessary for personal development and spiritual growth. Dances of India presents The Little Rani at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday (September 17 through 19) at the Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-997-0911 or www.dancesofindiastlouis.org). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Sept. 18-20, 2009