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Rivers holds exalted positions in Indian myths, likened to deities, dispersed in multiple directions and yet relentless in their ambition to unify with the great oceans of the world.
“Students of dance are similar to the originating points of rivers, advancing and gaining momentum to eventually release their grand potential,” says Malini Krishnamurthi, choreographer and founder of the West Covina based, Natyanjali School of Classical Indian Dance.
This year, Natyanjali’s annual performance takes place on July 14, with a much-anticipated Bharatanatyam performance billed as “River of Dances.”
This ancient art form, from across the world dating to the Vedic period will come alive once more on stage. As the fragrance of floral incense lingers, poised artists with complex sculpted posturing reminiscent of the fixed figures found in Indian temples usher in motion and Abhinaya, or poetic eye and body expressions.
Audiences can expect to see 25 richly bejeweled students in full regalia with brightly colored costumes accented with flowers and head dresses in their hair to the shimmering anklets to emphasize beats.
Solo and group performers aged 7 through 17, will feature thematic works honoring Lord Shiva, the primordial Lord of Dance as well as vignettes honoring Lord Ganesha and Parvathi. Bollywood number “Jai Ho” is sure to amuse fans of film dances.
Natyanjali’s orchestra will churn rhythmic Karnatik sounds which fuse with elaborate footwork. The orchestra will be composed of Krishnamurthi on nattuvangam, K.S. Balakrishnan on vocals, V. Ganesan on percussion instruments, mridangam and tabla and C. Sudhakar on flute. Nattuvangam is the rhythmic sound play of cymbals, an important instrument within the orchestra.
Krishnamurthi has performed since the age of five for prestigious institutions in Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad. During the formative years of Natyanjali, in 1982, Krishnamurthi performed from an invitation of the High Commissioner in London and later delighted audiences at the French Cultural Society in Paris, France.
Apart from her artistic interests, Krishnamurthi teaches Information Systems and Decision Sciences at the Steven G. Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, California State University, Fullerton.
Balakrishnan has over 20 years of professional experience as a nattuvangist and is a sought after vocalist for South Indian music. As a young award-winning artist he has given several memorable performances at numerous venues around the world and provides vocal support for many Indian dancers.
C. Sudhakar hails from a family of musicians whose ancestors were court musicians in the royal Tanjore Court of Tamil Nadu. He has been featured in many commercial recordings and light music shows with legends like S.P Balasubramaniam and Vani Jayaram.
V, Ganesan is an award-winning percussionist who has accompanied leading dancers and participated in music festivals all over the world.
This show’s proceeds will be donated to Akshaya Patra, a charity close to Krishnamurthi’s ideals. Krishnamurthi is no stranger to social causes which are usually aligned with her shows.
Akshaya Patra is an international charity that originated in India and aids millions of underprivileged children by providing them with a healthy, balanced meal that they would otherwise have to work for. The meal is an incentive for them to continue their education.
Saturday, July 14, 5 p.m. Sophia B. Clark Theater. 1100 N. Grand Ave., Walnut Rancho Cucamonga. $50, $30, $20. (909) 468-4050. www4tix.org.www.natyanjali.org.