Harriet & Charles Luckman
Fine Arts Complex
Contact: Diane Turner
Phone: (323) 343-6616
Fax: (323) 343-6423
Date: March 10, 1996
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
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
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.
Luckman Fine Arts Complex and Music Circle present Ramaa
Bharadvaj and the Angahara Ensemble in Panchatantra -
Animal Fables of India.
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.
Luckman Theatre at Cal State L.A., Eastern Ave. exit of the I-10
(San Bernardino) freeway.
Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m.
$25/$18/$10 (children under 12 and seniors); group prices available.
Call (323) 343-6610.
Luckman information -- (323) 343-6610.