Gurus of Dance
NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: India
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Aditya Patel
First appearance in SF EDF: 2015
Gurus of Dance is a Bollywood dance, drama, and entertainment company founded by Aditya Patel. Students are taught multiple forms of dance and are given an opportunity to perform at the student Bollywood musical productions twice a year. The musical acts are scripted, directed, and enacted by artistically skilled professionals and students who are given opportunities to contribute and merge the diverse elements of dance and drama.
DANCE ORIGIN: Maharashtra, India
TITLE: Shri Ganesha
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Aditya Patel
DANCERS: Anjaria, Shravya Anjaria, Nishesh Arora, Ayushi Batwara, Aashna Bhandari, Ankit Bhanot, Ananya Bhardwaj, Eesha Bhasin, Ajeenkya Bhatalkar, Riya Bhatia, Shruti Mitesh Bhawsar, Tanya Chadha, Riya Chopra, Annika Debar, Ankita Deep, Aanya Desai, Ashka Desai, Jui Deshpande, Saie Deshpande, Sanika Gadam, Ritika Gandhi, Naveli Garg, Jonathan Gomez, Shriya Gore, Raghav Goswami, Nikita Gourabathina, Amber Gupta, Anya Gupta, Koena Gupta, Mahika Gupta, Priya Gupta, Juhi Jadav, Shubhi Jain, Ria Kalluri, Sonia Kalwit, Aruushi Kaur, Paayal Khabiya, Aditi Khire, Avishi Kukreja, Annalitha Kumar, Raveena Kumar, Shreya Kumar, Khushi Loomba, Shreya Madhireddy, Lovlean Kaur Mann, Samika Mathada, Meghna Mehta, Shashwat Mehta, Sonal Mohanty, Snehal Pachigar, Sanika Pande, Pooja Parikh, Aarya Pradhan, Kiara Parker, Aastha Patel, Maahi Patel, Mahek Patel, Uday Patel, Anita Puthenparambil, Sahana Raja, Anjali Sadarangani, Anya Saini, Amrutha Sampath, Niyati Sanghrajka, Mahi Saraf, Akshaya Sathbhai, Siya Shah, Praachi Shelgikar, Rhea Shetty, Deepika Shingwekar, Saanjh Shukla, Belita Solanki, Swarada Sontakke, Adwaith Sreenivasan, Avnita Sreenivasan, Reeana Srivastava, Aadi Sutar, Tanvi Syed, Juhi Tanniru, Shijin Thomas, Nitya Tripathi, Soundarya Vasudevan, Sunanditha Vempati, Sura Vemula, Aanya Virmani
Shri Ganesha is an exuberant Bollywood-folk-fusion choreography, staging a celebration for Ganesh Chaturthi, the Hindu festival for Lord Ganesha. This procession, traditional in India’s western state of Maharashtra, also brings high-energy inspiration from Maharashtra’s city of Mumbai and Bollywood film. Dancers flood the streets, raising lanterns in prayer. They perform the Maharashtrian lezim dance with cymbals and dholki drums, striking bharatanatyam poses to symbolize Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha, the Hindu elephant-headed god, son of Shiva and Paravati, is one of India’s favorite deities. Ganesha is god of beginnings, remover of obstacles, and patron of arts, sciences, intellect, and wisdom. The Ganesha Chaturthi Festival is an auspicious time to pray to him, asking that new activities be completed without obstacles. For the festival days, people make clay images of Ganesha and place them in shrines in their homes, at work, and public places. After ten days, people form huge street processions to carry the clay idols into the nearest body of water, and leave them to disintegrate. The lezim dance is named for small lezim cymbals. It attracts hundreds, even thousands, of dancers: the 2014 world record—set by Maharashtra students—was 7,338 cymbal-playing dancers.
The costumes were designed and created as an expression of traditional warrior dress. Male dancers wear shoulder pads and the traditional fold; the women’s dress—male-themed dress with half-fold—symbolize equality in the fight for good over evil.
TITLE: Shubh Arambh; Dholna
CHOREOGRAPHER: Aditya Patel
CHOREOGRAPHER: Shruti Mitesh Bhawsar
COMPANY DANCERS: Ajeenkya Bhatalkar, Neha
Dadbhawala, Sanika Divekar, Pankaj Dubey, Gohar Jaffer, Payal Joshi,
Sonia Kalwit, Shruti Mitesh, Candice Newnes, Tripthi Pai, Priyanka Patel, Uday
Patel, Veena Ramachandran, Neeru Sehgal, Swarada Sontakke, Vishal Vedula
COMPANY DANCERS: Tanya Chadha, Shreya Guha, Pawan
Jariwala, Ria Kalluri, Yash Khadilkar, Aviral Kukreja, Reva Kulkarni, Khushi
Loomba, Neha Mannem, Aayushi Mehta, Shashwat Mehta, Pooja Parikh, Ashna
Pattanayak, Anita Puthenparambil, Sarisha Sabhlok, Anjali Sadarangani, Neha
Sanghrajka, Niyati Sanghrajka
In this opening act of an original
Bollywood musical called Roarrr, thirty-four
young, joyful, talented dancers celebrate the birth of the lion king. It’s easy
to see why India’s raas-garba Bollywood fusion is immensely popular in India
and the US!
The form merges two beloved
devotional dances—raas and garba—from the west coast state of Gujarati. And
then it adds more than a little bit of Bollywood. Both raas and garba are
usually danced to honor the protective Hindu goddess Durga during the Navratri,
or Nine Night Festival. Durga is a fierce and beautiful warrior. She rides into
battle on a lion, carrying weapons in each of her eight-to-ten hands,
attracting demons and annihilating them.
The first piece, Shubh Arambh, or A New Beginning, shows us the raas form, traditionally a men’s-only
dance dramatizing Durga’s fight with the mighty demon-king Mahishasura. Wooden
dandiya sticks (or brilliant light sabers in this Bollywood-style production)
represent the swords of Durga. They are wielded skillfully as dancers execute
fast whirls while gesturing and stepping to complex rhythms. The lyrics are
contemporary, honoring new beginnings:
Parodh aavi, khushiyo sange laavi…
haiyu haay haay
colorful dawn has come, what happiness
brought, the heart is filled with joy!
ni kirano vikharaay, umang evi
mann hal ve thi gungunaaye...
of hope everywhere, excitement is flowing,
is humming lightly...
The second piece, Dholna, or Celebration, shows the garba form, traditionally danced by women,
carrying earthen lamps to a statue of the goddess. The dancers’ slow, complex
circle patterns represent the cyclic nature of birth, life, death, and
reincarnation. To lively Bollywood music, dancers sing out their joy that their
beloved king has finally arrived.
The women wear colorful dresses,
heavy jewelry, brightly embroidered ghagra choli blouses and long dupatta
scarves exhibiting amazing patchwork. The men wear scarves and special kedias with
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