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Chennai based Sahrdaya Foundation’s Don Quixote, an upcoming stage adaptation of a seventeenth-century novel by Spain’s legendary Miguel Cervantes combines multiple art forms of music, dance, theatre, and poetry to tell a timeless tale with present-day relevance according to its choreographer and director Sheejith Krishna.
Don Quixote, is the first cross-cultural stage production within the framework of a South Indian art form. The U.S. tour is sponsored by Kalapeetham Foundation and the upcoming show in Northern California will be presented by Yuva Bharati, a Palo Alto based non-profit organization which promotes classical Indian dances in the United States.
The two and a half hour English production though “rooted in the idiom of Bharat Natyam and Carnatic music” also differs according to Krishna, “true freedom lies in the ability to travel beyond without breaking the rules,” and hence classical language will be used in an entirely different way as in the case of Don Quixote’s unification with contemporary elements, theater and mime.

Audiences must come and watch how we have pulled off this mix of classical tradition and experimentation across cultures asserts Krishna.

The new adaptation is scripted and narrated by Akhila Ramnarayan who compressed the extensive and complex story line to approximately fifteen scenes.

The challenge according to Ramnarayan lay in translating a classic, “a sprawling satire from seventeenth century Spain into a performance genre from another culture, for a twenty-first century audience” while ensuring that the “original edge and the essential humanity” was not lost.

The story centers on the Spanish knight errant, Don Quixote, played by Krishna who is determined to restore chivalry in his land. Accompanied by his faithful friend Sancho Panza, played by Madhusudhan, the two set out to save the world through a series of adventures and mishaps.

Accompanying artists include Manjari, Anjana Anand, Nidheesh Kumar, K.M. Jayakrishnan, Season Unnikrishnan, Rajamally, Radha Ganesan, Tharini Shanmugarajah, Prithvija Balagopalan and Divya Nayar.

The idea to restructure this tale is partly due to its universal appeal per Krishna and Ramnarayan.  The plot “belongs to all of us, you can learn all you want to know about life and art from it. What greater joy than to tell a story about ordinary people and their desire to dream, in the face of bankruptcy, enslavement and death?”

Past its successful premiere in Chennai in March and the second show in Northern California, the production will continue through the United States with nine additional performance scheduled between August and October.
Established in 2006, Yuva Bharati provides annual stage opportunities to young artists who are beyond the solo debut stage and have completed several years of rigorous training in dance styles such as bharatnatyam, kuchipudi, odissi, kathak and kathakali according to Santa Dasu Kondapalli, Board and Executive Committee member.
“Yuva Bharati is also pleased to promote classical Indian dance through visiting artists, such as the troupe from Sahrdaya Foundation who are bringing germane shows with innovation in classical dance,”added Kondapalli.

Saturday, September 12, 4:00 p.m. Santa Clara High School Performing Arts Center 3000 Benton St., Santa Clara $50-$20.