An Exploration of Emotions Through Dance

Saatvika explores the internalization of emotions that is crucial for the portrayal of abhinaya, an important element of classical Indian dance that deals with expression of emotions. When emotions displayed by the dancer evoke a sympathetic response from the audience, the aesthetic flavor, or rasa, is subconsciously created and the objective of the dance is achieved. The emotion of sringara, love in manifest forms, will be explored by Kumar through the elaborate choreography of a 19th-century composition by Maharaja Swati Tirunal. Saatvika also evokes serenity and tranquility and Kumar will present pieces dealing with the Buddha and Sri Aurobindo’s classic poem Bliss of Brahman.

“One aspect of bharatanatyam that is especially important is saatvika abhinaya,” comments Rasika Kumar, who is a recent MIT graduate and daughter of Mythili Kumar, artistic director of Abhinaya Dance Company. “To a dancer, this means the total involvement in the dance, which takes a higher level of maturity and concentration. I was also interested in the meaning of saatvika as a journey towards union with the divine. The pieces I perform will therefore follow this theme of the bhakti, or devotee yearning for salvation either through love of the Lord or worship of the Lord. Through these pieces, I will also aim to achieve a higher state of involvement in the dance.”

Musicians and composers include E.P. Sudev Warrier (vocal), K.S. Sudhaman (mridangam), and A.P. Krishna Prasad (flute). Additionally, Malavika Kumar, daughter and disciple of Mythili Kumar, will provide nattuvangam (conduct the orchestra with cymbals and recitation).

Saturday, July 1, 4 p.m., Hoover Theater, 1635 Park Ave., San Jose. $20 reserved, $12 general, $8 seniors. (408) 983-0491.

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