The truly treasured Indian dance company from Chicago, Natya Dance Theatre brings us a fantastic new dance concert. A metaphor for preserving nature and respecting all life, The Flowering Tree is a timeless tale about love that is transforming. Based on an ancient South Indian folktale by A. K. Ramanujan, The Flowering Tree is a dance-theater work with a sutradhara, or storyteller, about a poor but beautiful young girl, Kumudha, blessed with the magical ability to transform herself into a magnificent flowering tree. Her valuable flowers can be picked without harming the tree. When she marries a prince who is enchanted by her beauty, her magical ability is discovered and is soon taken advantage of and she is harmed. Only time and love can transform her back into her original form.
The production is set to an original score composed by renowned world musician, Rajkumar Bharathi, and recorded by twenty-five musicians from around the world, fusing Indian music with jazz, Japanese drumming and African drumming. Rounding out this international production is a script by Mark Kittlaus, doctor of Indian Studies at the University of Shenandoah, based on the folktale by A. K. Ramanujan, plus stage direction by Dipankar Mukherjee, Artistic Director of the Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis, and story consultation from Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
With dance teaching and evaluation of Bharata Natyam and classical Indian dance forms, Natya Dance serves as an agent of cultural preservation, presentation and exchange, and moves the art form in innovative directions to foster cultural exchange through dance.