Sheejith Krishna & Dancers

Dakshina is excited to present the DC premiere of Sheejith Krishna & Dancers.

Friday September 27, 2013
8 pm performance
Shakespeare Theatre, Sidney Harman Hall
610 F St NW Washington, DC 20004
Buy Tickets Here

Sheejith KrishnaPravãha is an original dance-theatre production conceived and choreographed by Sheejith Krishna. Inspired by the rich lyricism of classical poetry on the iconic river Ganga,  Kalidasa’s Meghadutam (cloud messenger), and other traditional and modern stories on the many forms of water, the work uses the historic physical, spiritual and cultural significance of water as a lens to explore the complex relationships between human beings and nature.

Pravãha depicts the dance of water through its cycles of existence.  The journey of cloud, rain and river become metaphors for the flow of creativity and the dance of the human spirit at one with nature. In tracing the story of water back to the origin of life on the cosmos, Pravãha  highlights how human response to nature has evolved over millennia.

Pravãha takes us on a journey of confluence and birth, connection and balance, division and destruction, rebirth and rejuvenation. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living things, the dance explores humankind’s greatest challenge today: saving our rivers and lakes—perhaps our most precious natural resources—in order to preserve and protect our fragile ecosystem.

This work has been commissioned by Dakshina for the 2013 Fall Festival of Indian Arts and features an all-male cast of performers including choreographer Sheejith Krishna, Nidheesh Kumar, Sreenath Nair, and Season Unnikrishnan.

Featured Artist Sheejith Krishna Bio:
A riveting performer with the ability to create entire worlds out of thin air and transport audiences into them, Sheejith has played significant lead roles in almost all of Kalakshetra Repertory’s ensemble productions to critical and popular acclaim.  These include Lord Rama, the hero, and, the villain, Ravana, both roles he made his own in Kalakshetra’s monumental six-part Ramayana series.  Critics have repeatedly noted his immaculate nritta and sense of laya, and the wide-ranging emotional canvas of his abhinaya.  Sheejith has performed in major venues all over India, as well as in North America, Europe, and Asia.  He received the prestigious national award, the Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, from the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2006, and the Yagnaraman Award for Excellence in Dance in 2010.

While at Kalakshetra, Sheejith directed, choreographed, and starred in the trailblazing ensemble production Masquerade, a dance-drama based on Alexandre Dumas’s Man in the Iron Mask. His first large-scale choreographic excursion which premiered in 2007, Masquerade is close to Sheejith’s heart.  The dance-drama was his brainchild from start to finish, in all aspects of production from choreography and music to set, costume, and lighting design.  It signals a complete departure from Kalakshetra’s existing performance oeuvre, being the first Kalakshetra dance-drama based on a secular, western narrative. However, Masquerade remains true to the Kalakshetra spirit of innovation-in-tradition in its overall aesthetic, and in its path-breaking use of the convention of classical Bharatanatyam and Carnatic raga-s played on western classical instruments to represent an entirely foreign culture, period, and ethos.

AnuradhaCroppedFriday September 27th opening artist: Kalanidhi Dance directed by Anuradha Nehru will open the show with an evening of scintillation Kuchipudi. Director and choreographer is an award winning Kuchipudi dancer, teacher, and founder of Kalanidhi Dance Company. Anuradha performed worldwide as the principal dancer with Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam’s troupe from 1996 – 2002. She established herself as a leading Kuchipudi exponent in India and the United States. She has taught and developed new generations of Kuchipudi dancers in the United States, and toured with them across the country, as well as to South East Asia and India. Many of her students have gone on to become leading dance professionals in their own right. Nehru’s all female company will bookend Krishna’s all male company.

Her other major productions which have received critical acclaim include, Transcending Traditions, Yaatra, the historical ballet Bhagmati, and Siva Shakti to name a few. Reflecting her willingness to explore new genres, Anuradha most recently collaborated with the La Fayette Opera Company in the production of “Lalla Roukh”, a 19th Century French opera situated in India. Her choreography received considerable praise for blending seamlessly with the rest of the operatic action and for bringing beauty, grace, and the flavor of India to this unique production.

Gowri K_photo by Les Talusan 350wFriday September 27th opening artist: Also in the first half of the program is poet Gowri Koneswaran. She is also a singer and lawyer whose parents immigrated to the United States from Sri Lanka. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the environment, and the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused. A Lannan Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library and member of the 2010 DC Southern Fried Slam team, she has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (NYC), the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Gowri’s poetry has appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Bourgeon, and Lantern Review. She leads poetry and communications workshops and hosts open mics at Busboys and Poets and BloomBars, where she also serves as poetry coordinator. She tweets on-the-spot haiku at