A tale of duty and salvation

A tale of duty and salvation

Notable Indian classical dancer Shantha Ratii's unique solo dance theatre performance Moksha Katha will be staged at the Esplanade's Theatre Studio on Aug 15 and 16.

The Singaporean dancer will combine three Indian classical dance forms - kathakali, kuchipudi and bharatanatyam - to tell the mythological tale of Poothana who met a "tragic, yet liberating end" at the hands of Krishna.

Ms Ratii (right) will also be performing the Moksha Katha in Mumbai on Aug 22 at the National Centre For Performing Arts.

The story of Poothana the demoness, a kathakali dance classic, is one of salvation and duty. The demoness is ordered by king Kamsa to kill his nephew, infant Krishna because of a prophecy. The demoness, who takes the form of a beautiful woman, is however overcome by maternal instinct when she holds the baby in her hands. But she chooses to perform her duty by trying to poison Krishna, who kills her instead.

This solo dance act will be accompanied by live music.

Ms Ratii tells tabla! that Indian classical dance has huge potential with a universal meaning which is why she has "re-looked traditional works and recast them to emphasise its relevance to the modern world".

Ms Ratii has been learning Indian classical dance from the age of five under renowned dance gurus in India and Singapore. She runs the Antara Foundation for the promotion of Indian performing and visual arts.

She says Indian classical dance is vibrant in Singapore, judging by the number of students learning the art. "I think it is assured of a promising place in the cultural landscape of Singapore," she says.

She adds that dance and art is at the heart of any society and reflects the consciousness of a people. "Through history whenever and wherever there was peace and prosperity, art flourished. So art and culture is definitely an indicator of Singapore as a peaceful, safe and vibrant nation and is therefore of paramount importance," she says.

Moksha Katha will be performed at the Esplanade's Theatre Studio on Aug 15 and 16 at 8pm.

Tickets are priced at $22 and can be bought through SISTIC.

ankitav@sph.com.sg


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