Om Ganesha

October 10th 2009 - 7:00 PM - History Museum, St. Louis, MO

Nritya Naatika (Dance Drama)

In the Hindu religion, Ganapati, the elephant headed god, is worshipped as a deity who removes the obstacles of life. Ganapati worship is traditionally performed before the beginning of any task. Stories about Ganapati are both intellectually engaging and replete with lessons of morality.

Scene 1
Pushpanjali: The dancers will offer floral respects to Lord Nataraja, the deity of dances and invite the patrons to the dance drama.
Siddhi Vinayakam: A sanskrit composition praising Lord Ganesha and seeks his blessings for a successful performance
Nritya Swara vistara: A creative dance set to an improvisation of melody

Scene 2
Ganesha Janana (Ganapati's Birth)
Shiva and Parvati, the Universal parents, are in Kailasa. Shiva heads out to complete a task. Parvati creates a young boy with her spiritual energy in Shiva's absence and orders him not to allow anyone inside the home until she completes her meditations. The young boy guards the entrance to the home with great vigilance. When Shiva returns home, he sees an unknown, but handsome kid at his doorstep. Acting on his mother Parvati's instructions, the boy refuses to let him enter. Shiva asks his Ganas, (subordinates), to remove the boy from the door so that he may enter. The boy repels all attempts and defeats the Ganas. Angered, Shiva himself engages the young boy in a battle,
beheading him in the process. Parvati emerges from her meditation to find her son dead. Upon learning that he has killed his own son, Shiva is full of remorse and gives life back to the young boy, using the head of an elephant.

Scene 3
Buddhi Ganapati (The "Wise" Ganesha)
When Sage Narada visits their home with a mango fruit, both Ganapati and brother Shanmukha vie for it. Narada offers to give the fruit to one of them throwing a challenge.The challenge is to circle the world three times within short time. Shanmukha, who is slim and strong, rides out on his fleet vehicle - a peacock - to circle the world with great speed. Ganesha, larger of girth and slower of speed on his vehicle - a mouse, wisely circles his parents three times. For him, his parents are his world. Narada is thrilled by Ganesha's wisdom and declares him the winner.

Scene 4
Krodha Ganapati (The "Angry" ganesha)
Chandra (Moon), is very proud of his beauty. He ridicules Ganesha's unusual physique and his vehicle - the mouse. Ganapati is angered by Chandra's audacity and hurls a curse on him: "Chandra will not shine and be in eternal darkness". Chastened, Chandra repents and offers his apologies. Ganesha is somewhat placated and modifies his curse to allow the moon to wax and wane, thereby allowing it to shine on some nights.

Scene 5 - Jugalbhandhi
Tillana/Tarana is "Nritta" or pure dance. It portrays complex movements set to a fixed rhythm and melody. It combines multiple "adavu" (rhythmic foot movements) variations with full body movements. Kathak and Bharathanatyam styles are nicely collaborated in this piece providing a glimpse of two classical styles of India at the same time.

Music Direction
Tirumale Srinivasan

Prabhath Studios, Bangalore, India

Photo & Video Courtesy
Deb Bhattacharya

Co-Ordination from India
Guru Pulikeshi Kasthuri

Direction & Choreography
Guru Prasanna Kasthuri

October 10 2009 performance is supported partially from Missouri Arts Council and Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis