Panchatantra

Harriet & Charles Luckman
Fine Arts Complex
Contact: Diane Turner
Phone: (323) 343-6616
Fax: (323) 343-6423
Date: March 10, 1996

PANCHATANTRA - ANIMAL FABLES OF INDIA
COMES TO LUCKMAN THEATRE APRIL 20

Treat the entire family to the grandeur of Indian dance theater and music and the magic of ancient fables as Music Circle presents Ramaa Bharadvaj and the Angahara Ensemble in Panchatantra - Animal Fables of India at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Theatre, April 20 at 7 p.m.

This famous literary work compiled in India 2500 years ago speaks of the wisdom of life through wise and witty stories in which all the lead characters are animals. Noted Indian dancer and choreographer Ramaa Bharadvaj and the Angahara Ensemble bring these enchanting stories to the stage for the entire family.

Almost everyone has heard of Aesop's Fables. But few are aware that Aesop adapted his stories from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian literary work. Vishnusharma, a Brahmin scholar, was given the task of educating three illiterate princes. He taught them lessons in philosophy, psychology, politics and human relations all in the form of clever animal fables.

"In my adaptation of these classic fables, the storyteller becomes a mother, because we learn the most valuable lessons of life from our parents. Her dialogue with her children brings out a specific message of ecological interest that is of relevance to all the children of the modern world who will one day inherit the kingdom of Earth," says Ramaa Bharadvaj who has written the English dialogues.

Set in a jungle habitat, this magical production features stunningly beautiful dances that offer a synthesis of traditional Indian, folk and freestyle choreography. "Although my choreography is based on the Pasupakshi gati or the gaits of animals and birds, recommended in the 3000-year-old theater manual Natyasastra, my inspiration came from nature and the animals that inhabit her amazing kingdom," says Bharadvaj. She studied more than 20 hours of wildlife videos and observed live animals in order to accurately translate their movements into Indian dance vocabulary. She adds, "You'll see crows, owls, doves, monkeys, crocodiles, jackals, bulls, an Indian lion king and the fascinating cobra, all dancing to intricate Indian rhythms."

Bharadvaj commissioned acclaimed poets to write lyrics for each story, in four Indian languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu and Marathi) and herself wrote the lyrics in the Tamil language. These have been set to tune by Rajkumar Bharathi, one of India's leading composers. The production uses beautiful sets created in India and spectacular costumes and unusual masks designed by Bharadvaj herself.

Ramaa will be joined by her daughter Swetha Bharadvaj who, at age 4, was hailed as a "child performing prodigy" by the prestigious Hindu newspaper of India. Now at age 14, Swetha has a list of over 250 performances to her credit and international accolades and awards for her singing and dancing. Other members of the Angahara Ensemble include Ramaa's six-year-old son Siva and her students Regina Jacob, Shivali Panchal, Jamie and Jennifer Koottarappallil, Payal Patel and Nikita Shah, along with guest performer Shoma Sircar as the mother.

Ramaa Bharadvaj has had an illustrious dance career spanning three decades and has received numerous grants and honors, including the prestigious Lester Horton Dance Award. She was also named "One of the Most Memorable World Dance Performers of the Year" by the Orange County Register. She is currently a dance faculty member at Orange Coast College.

Founded in 1973 by Pandit Ravi Shankar and Harihar Rao, the Music Circle is regarded as the foremost presenter of Indian dance and music of exceptional quality to the Southern California audience.

Luckman Theatre, part of the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, is noted for its integrity in bringing innovative dance, music and theatre to Southern California.

Located at the junction of the I-10 (San Bernardino) and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways on the California State University, Los Angeles campus, Luckman's striking red brick structures house one of the newest performing arts theatres and fine arts galleries in Los Angeles. The fine arts gallery -- free to the public -- is open one hour prior to each theatre performance and Monday through Thursday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For theatre ticket and additional information about the Luckman Fine Arts Complex call (323) 343-6610.


WHO:
Luckman Fine Arts Complex and Music Circle present Ramaa Bharadvaj and the Angahara Ensemble in Panchatantra - Animal Fables of India.

WHAT:
The famous literary work Panchatantra, compiled in India 2500 years ago and the basis of Aesop's fables, speaks of the wisdom of life through wise and witty stories in which all the lead characters are animals. Noted Indian dancer and choreographer Ramaa Bharadvaj and the Angahara Ensemble bring these enchanting stories to the stage for the entire family.

WHERE:
Luckman Theatre at Cal State L.A., Eastern Ave. exit of the I-10 (San Bernardino) freeway.

WHEN:
Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

TICKETS:
$25/$18/$10 (children under 12 and seniors); group prices available. Call (323) 343-6610.

INFO:
Luckman information -- (323) 343-6610.

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