Natya Dance Theatre Presents World Premiere, THE SEVENTH LOVE, 11/2
Natya Dance Theatre, Chicago's critically-acclaimed and longest running Dance Company rooted in the Indian dance-theater technique of Bharata Natyam, returns to the Harris Theater with the World Premiere of The Seventh Love, an exploration of love in eastern teachings based on the life of the god Krishna. The Seventh Love is conceived by Natya Associate Artistic Director Krithika Rajagopalan in collaboration with David Kersnar, a founding member of Chicago's Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre, and is written and directed by Kersnar and choreographed by Natya Founder and Artistic Director Hema Rajagopalan. Natya presents The Seventh Love in one performance only at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Street, Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 pm.
Following last year's highly successful Sita Ram, an original world musical at the Harris Theater created by Kersnar, Krithika Rajagopalan, Josephine Lee of the Chicago Children's Choir and composer Jai Uttal, Kersnar and Rajagopalan team up once again forThe Seventh Love, a humorous dance drama revolving around the life of Krishna and understanding the various aspects of love. Based on the ancient Buddhist discourse known as "The Five Aspects of Love" - which include attention, affection, acceptance, allowance and appreciation - Kersnar and Rajagopalan's narrative story, brought to life through expressive dance and dialogue between a sage and a king, examines the various stories of Krishna's life, from childhood through his adult relationships. Through the lens of Krishna, the sage and the king seek to understand what true love really means and how a person can attain the sixth love, or "perfect love" encompassing all five aspects, before moving on to the seventh love, which is universal, selfless love.
Bringing a real life element to Kersnar and Rajagopalan's story, the sound design includes true stories from Chicago women about their real-life relationships, ranging from anecdotes about arranged marriages and surviving domestic abuse to lessons learned from both successful and failed marriages.
Accompanied by original music from Rajkumar Bharathi, who also composed for Natya's premiere of The Flowering Tree at the Harris Theater in 2011, and brilliant costumes designed by Ruknini Rajans and Krithika Rajagopalan, Hema Rajagopalan's Bharata Natyam choreography - full of percussive footwork, symbolic hand gestures, fascinating geometry in movement and engaging facial expressions - uses 15 dancers to bring the story of The Seventh Love to life in a fresh, contemporary way that sheds new light on the ancient mysteries of love, life and human relationships.
About the Artists
Natya Dance Theatre was founded in 1975 by renowned dancer, choreographer and dance educator Hema Rajagopalan to serve as an agent of cultural preservation, presentation and exchange. Natya seeks to sustain and develop the traditional art forms of India through the teaching and performance of Bharata Natyam for audiences of all backgrounds. Bharata Natyam is a classical dance form of southern India that combines dynamic body movement with rhythmic footwork and stylized hand gestures and facial expressions. Natya promotes the values of Indian culture, preserves an ancient art form, and forges links among Indian, American and other cultures.
Hema Rajagopalan (Artistic Director, Choreographer) is a Bharata Natyam dancer, teacher and choreographer of international repute. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Natya Dance Theatre, a professional touring company and school that has specialized in Bharata Natyam for the past 38 years. Her innovative work preserves Bharata Natyam in its full integrity, developing the art form in new directions and bringing it to diverse audiences all over the world. Her gurus are some of the foremost figures in Bharata Natyam:Padma Shri K. N. Dandayudapani Pillai and Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan the Abhinaya exponent. She has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world. As a choreographer, she has created numerous short works and over thirty evening-length productions. Noteworthy among her many prestigious awards are an Emmy Award for the public TV production,World Stage Chicago, seven National Endowment for the Arts choreography awards in the U.S. (the highest number ever) and the Vishwa Kala Bharati award for artistic excellence in India. She conducts workshops and master classes at colleges and universities throughout the country, and is an adjunct faculty member at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.