The New Classicism

With 2,000 years of history behind every fluid gesture, it’s often assumed that Indian classical dance is an ancient art, “ancient” meaning old, codified and unchanging. But few things in this world survive if they’re incapable of adaptation. Art must appeal to future generations as well as pay tribute to the past, and Indian dance (and its equal partners, music and theater) is no different. The St. Louis Indian Dance Festival, organized by Soorya Performing Arts, showcases the past, present and future forms of a wide range of dances that call on tradition while speaking to modern audiences. Fanaa, Destroyed in Love, choreographed by St. Louis’ own Guru Prasanna Kasthuri, tells the old story of India’s eternal lovers, Radha and Krishna, but also addresses the ongoing boundary conflict between India and Kashmir. In doing so, it makes a powerful statement about the world’s constant need for peaceful reconciliation between different nations and peoples. Madhumita Roy journeys from Calcutta to perform rarely seen examples of Kathak dance, while second-generation Indian American Yamini Saripalli presents traditional Kuchipudi dances. The St. Louis Indian Dance Festival takes place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (April 16 to 18) at the Clayton High School auditorium (1 Mark Twain Circle; 314-534-1111 or www.sooryadance.com). Tickets are $10 to $15 and are available through MetroTix and most local Indian restaurants and grocery stores.
April 16-18, 2010
 
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