In the Jain religious tradition of India, selflessness is the ultimate spiritual quest. One strives to hurt no living thing, to never lie and to never take advantage of another being's misfortune. These admirable qualities are personified in Vidya, the heroine of the ancient folktale "The Magic Grove." Vidya is a young cattle herder who saves a snake from harm. A nearby goddess witnesses the girl's kindness and grants her a wish as a reward, and Vidya wishes for a grove of trees to shade her charges from the sun's heat. The goddess is so pleased with Vidya's selflessness that she creates a magic grove that will travel with Vidya wherever she goes. But there's trouble in the offing -- Vidya has a nasty stepmother who resents Vidya's gains, and tries to destroy her stepdaughter out of jealousy. Dances of India presents the tale of The Magic Grove as its 34th annual Premier Performance; the story is danced at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday (September 9 and 10) at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-997-0911 or www.dancesofindiastlouis.org). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Fri., Sept. 9; Sat., Sept. 10, 2011