Enter South India where people honor the Hindu god Krishna. Rasika Kumar will portray the riveting stories of Krishna in her solo as part of the Abhinaya Dance Company.
Rasika Kumar, assistant artistic director and principal dancer, will portray the Hindu mythology of Krishna through several vignettes of bharatanatyam, a South Indian dance known for its pure, graceful and tender nature.
“I look forward to embodying all these stories,” said Kumar. “A lot of these stories I’ve grown up with, so I have a close connection to them and they’re close to my heart.”
When Krishna plays the flute, all people and animals stop in their tracks to listen to the beauty of his musical talent.
In another scene a hunchback woman asks Krishna to rub oil on her back. In the process of rubbing the oil, he straightens her back with his compassion.
“Even when I portray that scene I get very emotional,” said Kumar. “I feel very uplifted portraying those characters.”
While the dance is filled with mythology, those who don’t know the history of Krishna will appreciate the dance for its other layers.
“It is my job as a performer to make the presentation in a way that it doesn’t matter if you know anything about Krishna but can take something away no matter what,” said Kumar. “If it’s unfamiliar to you, you will appreciate the wonder of seeing a performance of godly acts.”
Krishna is one of the most highly revered Hindu gods, despite being a trickster. Krishna represents illusion.
Maya means “illusion” in Hindu. Krishna as a god is called Vishnu. In god form, Vishnu is not self-aware that he is a god. Contrastingly, in human form he is aware he’s a god and shows off his capabilities to all those around him.
Bharatanatyam is a very classical and technical dance, resulting in many children practicing it from a young age.
“It really is a lifelong vocation—something that you keep learning over many, many years,” said Kumar. “Your performance can acquire a new dimension as you grow older.”
The Bay Area Orchestra and musical guest and flautist G.S. Rajan will accompany Kumar’s dance.
The performance will take place Sunday, July 15 at 4 p.m. at the McAfee Theater, 20300 Herriman Ave., Saratoga. Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.
To purchase tickets, call 408-871-5959 or visit abhinaya.org.