Mona Khan Company Emerging Performers
DANCE ORIGIN: India
Mona Khan Company is one of the largest Bollywood dance companies in North
America, specializing in dance and fitness. Their professional dance troupe has
performed with Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Amrita Rao, Kunal
Ganjawala, Shankar Mahadevan, and Shaan. In addition, they have been featured
at a Golden State Warriors’ halftime event in 2010, and competed in NBC’s “America’s
Got Talent“ in Season 5. Recently, they performed at the Indiaspora Inaugural
Ball in honor of President Obama in Washington D.C. They offer many classes for
all age groups in several Bay Area locations.
Jalsa is a joyful performance of Bollywood dance, a form born in
Mumbai’s film studios and now a popular art form. The style merges
classical dance—bharatnatyam gestures and postures, kathak
turns, and folk dance forms garba, raas, and bhangra— with
western styles of jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance. The company’s
emerging performers are seven to eleven years old. The
music is from Bollywood film, and the piece pays tribute to four
of India’s thousands of festivals:
Ganpati celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh—the Hindu elephantheaded divinity, with a procession to immerse idols of Ganesh in the sea. The dancers play instruments from the western state of Maharasthra: lejims, with dangling cymbals; big cymbals called zanza; and tambourines. In the song, devotees beg Lord Ganesh to return to the world, and to remove all obstacles.
Diwali is the fall/winter Festival of Lights. It has different meanings in different regions, but everyone celebrates with new clothes, firecrackers, and gifts. Families also light clay oil lamps to honor good over evil. The song says: Let my life burn, my spirit burn. Underneath my eyes, smoke rises. The boys dance with swords to honor the southeastern region of Kerala.
Janmasthmi celebrates Lord Krishna’s birth with fasting and prayer. It’s also traditional to form a human pyramid and break a hanging clay pot filled with buttermilk, a favorite dish of Krishna’s. The song is from the perspective of Lord Krishna, who is trying to charm a girl.
Today’s costumes are festival bright, with rich fabric and ornate designs. The girls wear karat tops and salwar pants typical of Northern India, specifically Punjab. The boys wear the traditional kurtas and pajamas worn by men all over India. The piece was created in Fall 2012 by Mona Sampath, using original choreography by Monika Ramaswamy and Shobana Shankar.