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Invocation
A Holiday Summoning
Brinda Guha and Ensemble
Where: The Lucille Lortel Theatre in West Village

Thursday, December 16, 2021
Time: 7:00PM ET
Tickets: Event Link

Trailer Here!

“It’s hard to wake up to good news these days. It’s been stressful for me as an artist, as an empath, I tend to internalize everything. I ask myself, ”What are we doing on this planet?’

So I channel [a cure for that] in the work that I make,” Brinda Guha told me. “It’s been a little rough if I’m going to be honest,”

The good news is that Brinda, her cast of talented artists and her diya – a candle that she holds while dancing are here for the holidays, bringing light and empathy to all who witness their work.

Audiences are in for a multi-cultural treat, full of movement, color and inspiration at Guha’s INVOCATION, a Holiday Summoning at the Lucille Lortel theater on Thursday, December 16.

These colorful and diverse elements are introduced when the dances commence by diyas,  candles used for Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights and its most important holiday. The dancers each hold a diya and create one of many seances that permeate the entire performance..

Guha emphasized, “Everyone is a witness to each other’s evolving nature in the show – it’s not a showcase, but a series or prayers by different, related groups. The goal is to cure the evils of the world right now. While our different traditions may have different missions, we are here to come together to invoke peace as an ensemble, to gather our energy to chase away the darkness.”

Guha’s beautiful Invocation is a collection of eight related dances including four individual artists coming from South Asian diaspora movement traditions with the added dimensions of flamenco, tap and contemporary dancers from Hawaii and Italy. The Kathak dance form, which Guha is rooted in, may well have been the first source of this collaboration.

Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance origins of which are traditionally attributed to traveling bards of ancient northern India. These bards are known as Kathakars or storytellers. They tell the stories through their intricate hand movements and extensive footwork, their bodily movements and especially their facial expressions. Kathak is unique in that it has both Hindu and Muslim cultural elements. Guha acknowledged several times in her conversation with me that all castes of Indian artists owe a debt to these bards and other lower caste peoples who developed the artistry of India, a strong example being Kathak. As someone privileged to study their forms as a member of a higher caste and an Indian American who had opportunities like studying at NYU, she shows great respect to those that came before her.

Guha has Kathak dance in her blood. She grew up dancing with her mother who founded and taught at Kalamandir Dance School in Manalapan, New Jersey for 36 years after moving from Calcutta to the USA. Guha also studied flamenco in Grenada, Spain and in New York City with Dionisia Garcia. She discovered that kathuk and Flamenco had histories that intertwined, and went on to pursue afro-brazilian, west african and other styles. Her movement vocabulary evolve into a more contemporary multi-cultural realm – this is the style that she defines herself with now.

More about the show

in·vo·ca·tion, or the action of invoking something or someone for assistance or as an authority. The south asian diasporic arts encompass an intersection of ancestral knowledge with presence of mind and the power to future a world that centers the right to have peace in our hearts. A collection of séances to call healing spirits forward as we mindfully re-emerge into a new normal, arts worker Brinda Guha brings together various local creators who deeply converge with south asian artistry to create a moment of serenity before ultimately building a necessary and steadfast bastion of hope.

INVOCATION – A Holiday Summoning
Direction + Concept by Brinda Guha
Presentations by Brinda Guha, Kalamandir Dance Co., Soles of Duende, Barkha Patel, Navatman Dance, and Ashni Davé
Participants: Amanda Castro, Arielle Rosales, Ashni Davé, Barkha Patel, Brinda Guha, Giorgia Vitali, Julia Sitch, Sahasra Sambamoorthi
Live Music directed by Ashni Davé, accompanied by Kate Victor
Other Featured Tracks by Anoushka Shankar, Ashni Davé, Bombay Jayashree, Dirtwire, Ganavya Doraiswamy, Os Arun
Featured Text by Adrienne Marie Brown & Hussain Ahmed

 

 

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