By Mythili Kumar, Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose
Abhinaya Dance company productions for Spring 2013 start off this weekend with the restaging of Gandhi on Sunday, March 31st at Ohlone College at 4pm and on Saturday April 6th at Cabrillo College at 7pm. This repeated performance of our fall 2012 show was made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation for which we are truly grateful.
Since the 90s, we have presented many new original productions in our annual fall concerts but have been able to repeat only a few of them away from the Bay Area. This is due to many reasons: the inability to take the number of dancers to an outside location; the unavailability of musicians who can commit to dates out of town and whose contribution to live music makes the production attractive for new audiences; the difficulty in moving of props associated with an elaborate production; the difficulty of recruiting volunteers essential to carry out many production tasks in a new area; and lastly the costs associated with all of the above. Self-producing our Gandhi show in theaters in Fremont north of San Jose and Aptos in the Santa Cruz mountains is indeed quite an undertaking. After many months of communication with the new theaters and the staff and finally getting contracts in place, we are now trying to cultivate relationships with the technical staff at each theater and hoping to get their cooperation in making our production a success. Fortunately, our lighting designer has worked at these theaters before and it appears that we should have no problems in mounting our show successfully.
As we try to juggle theater and artists availability, we sometimes cannot avoid the inevitable clash of other events with our shows. Our fall show of Gandhi was presented on a weekend that coincided with the celebrations associated with a major festival (Diwali) in the Indian-American community. The March 31st show is also on the Easter holiday. However, because of the theme being a special one, both educational and inspirational, that has garnered excellent comments from the Bay Area audience, we hope that word has spread to many. As we have also publicized it with our extensive mailing lists that reach many beyond San Jose – both print and email , and advertised on Z-events, offered discounts on the internet and to seniors, we hope that our performances will be well attended in both theaters.
I have also indicated to our students’ parents that every Abhinaya student should see this show as it will be extremely valuable and inspiring for them. I have mentioned to them that many who attended the fall show had remarked that not only their daughters (regular dance goers) but their sons too were enthralled at seeing the show about Gandhi, and that this is truly one for the whole family. Hope that all this works and we get a sold-out audience!
On another note, don’t expect to see gorgeous silk with gold Bharatanatyam costumes – only simple kurtas that help depict the revolt of the common people against the British in India.