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CLASSICAL INDIAN DANCE MOVES TO RETRO FILM TUNES ‘Celluloid Classics’ at The Barclay, June 15th 2003

‘Celluloid Classics’ at The Barclay, June 15th 2003

(PRWEB) May 30, 2003

Irvine – Ramya Harishankar, the award winning Artistic Director and Choreographer for the Irvine based Arpana Dance Company will present ‘Celluloid Classics’ on June 15th at 6pm at The Barclay, Irvine. Along with guest choreographer and co-director Radhika Shurajit (first disciple of the renown Dhananjayans) they will put classical Indian dance moves to Bollywood (film) tunes of yesteryears. Over the last 2 decades, Harishankar has explored various themes in her productions – womanhood, the essence of dance and also cross-cultural work using Japanese Taiko drummers and a Flamenco ensemble. Shurajit with a passion for films has been exploring and creating works that bring together classical arts and today’s electronic media. Uttara Ram and the Aashiana Music Ensemble, Hemant Ekbote (tabla) and other guest musicians will provide musical accompaniment.

From the beginnings of ‘celluloid’ in India, song and dance was an integral part of movie magic. Legendary artistes like Vyjayanthimala (singer/actress), Gopi Krishna (dancer/choreographer) and M.S. Subbalakshmi (singer/actress) and several others were involved in films. With the advent of electronic music and western influences in the 60’s, the classical traditions parted ways with the new film or popular genre of music and dance. There has been a revival of the relationship in recent years with Carnatic music singers like Bombay Jayshree and Unnikrishnan singing in the movies and the legendary Birju Maharaj choreographing for the Oscar entry ‘Devdas’.

Using popular film songs in different languages, Harishankar and Shurajit have adapted them to fit into the classical and folk dance traditions without sacrificing the grammar. ‘Choreographing for the reel is quite different than for real(stage)’ says Shurajit. For Celluloid Classics they have chosen songs that adapt well to interpretation through dance. ‘It is a bold experiment for me but I believe it will make classical art more interesting to everybody’ said Harishankar. This is the first time such a production is being presented in the LA area. Uttara Ram and the Aashiana music ensemble are popular musicians known for their movie tunes. Nonetheless, this will be shift in their repertoire from the contemporary to the classical genre. Selections include music from classics such as Nagin (Hindi), Chemeen (Malayalam), Thillana Mohanambal (Tamil) and Sagara Sangamam (Telugu). For movie, classical music or dance aficionados, this is an exciting blend that is sure to educate and entertain.            

Ms. Harishankar has been recognized by several organizations for her contribution to the traditional arts and youth including the “Outstanding Artist Award 2002’ by the county arts agency, Arts OC. Over the last 20 years she has produced 12 full-length productions, most of them to benefit charities worldwide. Ms. Shurajit, has a strong grounding in classical dance and is the producer of the popular Indian TV dance game show ‘Taka dimi ta’. She has visualized and choreographed classical dance and song sequences in films such as ‘Indira’ and ‘Azaghi’, many of which have won awards.

Tickets for this performance are $ 25 and $ 15. For information call the theatre Box Office, (949) 854-4646, TicketMaster (714) 740-7478, or go online at MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover are accepted. The theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive at Bridge and West Peltason Roads in Irvine.


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