Ganga - life as a River is a thematic production by Ramya Harishankar and the Arpana Dance Company. A bold exploration of new vocabulary within the language of Bharata Natyam, the classical Indian dance form, the various stages of women’s lives are thus juxtaposed through the symbolic image of river, water, and life in this presentation by the Arpana Dance Company. While it draws from archetypal symbols of the Ganga as Woman and Goddess, it also brings together a different understanding of the lives of everyday women. Ganga has been choreographed by Ramya Harishankar and Priya Srinivasan with choreographic assistance from the Arpana Dance Company. Partly funded by the NEA and the Fund for Folk Culture, the presentation in Hollywood is partly supported by the LA Treasures award given by the LA County Board of Supervisors and the California Traditional Music Society.
PANCHA BHOOTAM – Under the direction of senior dancer /choreographer, Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar, the Company and Ramya Harishankar presented the abstract concept of the five elements of nature – water, fire, wind, earth and space – using the Bharata Natyam vocabulary in a very innovative and creative manner in Los Angeles, Phoenix and at the Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival.
CELLULOID CLASSICS – An unusual and interesting amalgamation of classical/folk dance and popular music on stage. Ramya Harishankar and Radhika Shurajit brought to life familiar music from Indian movie classics using the Bharata Natyam and folk dance idiom.
MARGAM – A repertoire of dance pieces performed in a particular order is a margam. Trisha Banerjee who received the Master-Apprentice grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts along with Ramya Harishankar raised $6000 for Pratham, a charity that educates slum children in India.
WOMEN IN E’MOTION – Intensive training in abhinaya or interpretive dance culminated in this unique presentation. A variety of 'women's emotions' as found in traditional and centuries old padams and javalis were explored. This program was funded partly by a grant by the California Arts Council.
WOMAN DIVINE - An exploration of the 'woman' in myth, history and modern times, this was a collaborative effort between Ramya Harishankar and G. Narendra. It featured nine senior members of the Company and was presented to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Arpana School of Dance.
…....new beginnings....… First time ever that Ramya Harishankar and the Company presented choreography by different choreographers. It featured the works of Sri. Bhagavatulu Seetharama Sharma, C.V. Chandrasekhar, A. Lakshman and Priyadarshini Govind.
TRIVENI – an ocean of harmony
– A collaborative effort with Flamenco company LA Ole' featuring each artiste dancing to the other's music as well as Bharata Natyam performed to Persian music by Pouian Music Conservatory were the highlights of this program. This presentation of the Dance Company raised $13000 for the American Red Cross.
SANGAM - many rhythms, one beat
- The Company presented three pieces from the traditional repertoire and 2 pieces in collaboration with Thanjavoor, an Indo American music ensemble and Kinnara Taiko, a Japanese drumming group. The program, which raised over $11000 for the American Cancer Society explored the possibility of collaboration while retaining the integrity of each art form.
NRITYA SARAM –the essence of dance
–This program used novel
techniques, narratives and unique presentation skills to bring to the audience the intricacies of Bharata Natyam. The first half explored the myths surrounding the creation of dance in India and second half presented the beauty, metaphors and poetry of the padam/javali tradition of the dance form.
NIRVANA: the pathways
- The program featured the nine stages in the evolution of the human to attain the highest level of realization. Funds raised from this program were used to sponsor 18 children worldwide through Child Reach and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
UTHSAVA: a glorious celebration
- This new and updated version of our 1990 production was presented with over 60 young dancers and an ensemble of musicians both local and from India. In continuation of our commitment to children, this program was a fund-raiser for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Orange County.
THE CELESTIAL LEGACY: A unique presentation featuring new and interesting group and solo choreography interspersing traditional and contemporary compositions. The essence as well as the variety of the dance form and its elements were delineated through this unique presentation.
EKA: NYKA: One & Many
- A benefit for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, this production featured some of the senior dancers of the Arpana Dance Company. Presented in Northern and Southern California, the focus of Eka: Nyka: was that the Divine is One permeating the whole universe. Everyone has the same journey and the many paths lead to the same goal.
SAMPRADAYA - A solo program based on the traditional repertoire of Bharata Natyam featuring rare compositions over a 100 years old and elucidating the timelessness of human emotions.
MAYA MANUSHA - the Illusive One
- To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Arpana School of Dance, a full length production highlighting the illusive nature of Krishna extolled in various compositions in Indian literature was presented at various venues in California. This was the first such tour undertaken by a Bharata Natyam Dance Company. These performances raised funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Thereafter this production toured several states in the US.
OM NAMO NARAYANA - A full-length production on Narayana, the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity presented by Meera Deo in aid of the American Cancer Society.
UTHSAVA - a glorious celebration
- A unique presentation of the festivals of India using the technique and language of Bharata Natyam. Presented during the inaugural season of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, the production featured over 40 dancers, an ensemble of musicians, colorful costumes and innovative choreography conveying the spirit of festive India.
SYMPHONY OF EMOTIONS - A thematic solo dance production presented during the US tour featured the works of renown Indian Saint poets who used ordinary human emotions to express the yearning of the human spirit to unite with the divine. This program has since been presented in several parts of the world.
EPICS OF INDIA - An official event of the Orange County Centennial Celebrations, this production was a dramatic presentation of two great epics `Ramayana' and Kalidasa's `Kumara Sambhavam'. Elaborate sets and props, colorful costume live music and a group of 31 dancers brought this production to life.
GITA GOVINDA: - A full-length thematic production based on the compositions of the well known Indian poets Jayadeva (12th century) and Annamacharya (16th century). This unique presentation with 48 dancers and 12 musicians featured innovative choreography to both South Indian and North Indian systems of music.
EXPRESSIONS – Produced and presented a showcase of different styles of dancing from all over the world.
DANCES OF INDIA - A benefit concert co-produced with Chinmaya Mission of Los Angeles to present four different dance styles of India featuring talented artistes from California.
KRSHNARPANAM - A thematic presentation based on the life of Sri Krishna featuring songs in several Indian languages. It was specially choreographed with a group of 25 young students of dance as a fund-raiser for the Hindu Temple in Calabasas, CA.
BHARATATIL BHARATHI - Participated as principal dancer in this presentation of the compositions of patriot and poet Subramanya Bharathi during his birth centenary celebrations in India. Specially choreographed by Guru Rajaratnam, this program was presented in many cities in S. India.
ABHINAYASUDHA - As a leading participant, performed and coordinated a number of specialized presentations for live and TV audiences. A series of such demonstrative workshops in Abhinaya by Kalanidhi Narayanan were held in Madras, Bombay, Pune, New Delhi and all over India.