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Storytellers and Nomads
November 5, 2022 @ 7:00 pm PDT
India is home to a dazzling array of storytelling traditions. From the kalamkari narrative paintings of Andhra Pradesh to the Baul singers of West Bengal, to the kathputli string puppets of Rajasthan, every corner of the country is home to rich oral traditions that spark the imagination and provide a container for people to tell and retell their own stories.
Amongst these storytelling traditions is kathak, classical dance of North India. The kathakas of ancient India were nomadic bards who traveled from village to village telling stories through dance, music and expression. These stories drew on mythology, history and the everyday lived experiences of people. Traditional kathak performances included direct exchange and conversation between the dancer, musicians, and spectators. As kathakas engaged their audiences, they formed a living connection with the history and narratives of a people.
In Storytellers and Nomads, kathak artist Rina Mehta brings this tradition to life with a retelling of Sita’s kidnapping from the great Indian epic, the Ramayana. Mehta’s rendition of Sita invites audience members to consider why so many people return to her story over and over again, searching for and finding new meaning.