Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant and Alif Laila (Sitar)

AnandaCropped300Friday November 7 at 8 pm
Shakespeare Theatre Harman Hall
Tickets are on sale now. Three day pass discounted tickets are available here: 30% discount if you buy tickets for all three events in the VIP and Prime Orchestra sections. Single event performance is available here: BUY TICKETS.

Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant, is celebrated as one of India’s leading classical dancers, choreographers and dance scholars. Performing in the two classical styles of Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi, she imbues a sparkling quality that bristles with life to the technique and grammar of her dance. Dancing with joy, Ananda, has polished her art to a fine gloss, where, the rigor of her training meets a finely tuned intellect that effortlessly bridges traditional structures with contemporary ideas. Imprinting her own vision of joy, beauty, values, myths, spirituality, and life experiences, to an impeccable training, Ananda’s life in dance has seen her transcend the physical, and lead her audience on a spiritual and ethereal journey. Her natural grace and vivacity draws her audience into the vivid and vibrant canvas of her dance, leaving them deeply touched. With an acclaimed and intense body of work that spans rich mythologies, historical chronicles, searing commentaries on topical issues, philosophical inquiry, poetry, story telling, and humor, Ananda, constantly stretches the boundaries of artistic endeavor, using the grammar and idiom of the classical dance format, making her presentations at once contemporary and evocative.

Moving from Myth to Abstraction: Dr. Jayant uses abstraction as a way to explore human experience and emotion in this scintillating work. Navarasa (nine emotions) is an evening length Bharata Natyam dance that explores the nine human emotions highlighted in Indian classical dance through the mnemonics of music, body kinetics, and abstract movement. Navarasa in itself, is an archetypal concept wherein emotions are the dominating element in interpreting the nine forms of the human mind. In addition, Dr. Jayant supports the nine moods with melody and rhythm instead of the traditional use of lyrics, myth or metaphor to convey emotion. Along with facial expressions, this dance explores the use of body language and group dynamics to support the range of emotions portrayed on the stage. Dr. Jayant invites the audience to draw on the memory of their own personal emotions of everyday life. Come join us and be transported through a kaleidoscope of emotions through music and dance.

Engaging in every aspect of dance, Ananda, is a prolific solo and ensemble performer, a much loved teacher and Guru, a critically acclaimed and brilliant choreographer, and is a sought after motivational and leadership speaker and writer. As the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra, Ananda leads an acclaimed ensemble, besides training and presenting the next generation of Bharatanatyam artists. Endowed with a natural flair for team playing and organizational acumen for collaborative work, Ananda has presented some of India’s signature festivals and conferences. A TED speaker in 2009, Ananda’s TED talk is now ranked as one of 50 Amazingly Motivational talks on Youtube as well as one of 12 Incredible TED talks on cancer. She actively lectures on breast cancer support and advocacy issues, having successfully battled the illness over the last two years. Ananda holds a Masters degree in Ancient Indian History (where she topped her university), a M.Phil in Art History and a Ph.D in Tourism. You can view the video of her TED talk and some magnificent dancing here: http://www.ted.com/talks/ananda_shankar_jayant_fights_cancer_with_a_dance.

AlifUdaipurOpening artist and sitar player Alif Laila brings her musical display of serenity and emotion from the Sitar—the soul of South Asian classical music. Alif has been prolific in the studio, recording with world-renowned tabla artists like Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Ustad Taari Khan. An accomplished artist in both music and water colors, Alif is a long time Dakshina friend and featured artist. Daniel considers Alif his older sister in the arts, and is excited to be featuring her again this year.

Alif Laila was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her connection with the arts has been very deep since early childhood. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, she began her initial training in vocal music, and was eventually inspired to learn the Sitar by her mother, Shehida. She was trained on a ‘one to one’ basis in the techniques and compositions of classical music by Ustad Mir Qasem Khan, nephew of Ustad Allauddin Khan, and founder of the Senia Maihar school of music. Alif’s passion for the arts was beyond music alone. She attended the College of Fine Arts in Dhaka where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and received several awards for her water color paintings. The world of rhythm and tone in drawing and painting gradually merged with her music and her love story with the arts began. She was fortunate to receive guidance from teachers like Partha Chatterjee and Krishna Bhatt and blessings from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. She has performed extensively in many prestigious venues in Bangladesh, India, Europe and the USA. World renowned Tabla artists like Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Ustad Taari Khan, and Pandit Yogesh Shamsi have performed and recorded with her. In 2007 her DVD ‘Hrydayaragam’ was presented at The Smithsonian. She has recently released another DVD, ‘Strings of Resonance’ with Anubrata Chatterjee, presenting Indian Classical music as the link to the heritage of the land from the past to the present.

With devotion and dedication Alif embraces the Sitar as the instrument of her soul. To know more about her and watch her video-clips please visit her website: www.aliflailasitar.com and blog: aliflailasitar.blogspot.com.

Tickets are on sale now. Three day pass discounted tickets are available here: 30% discount if you buy tickets for all three events in the VIP and Prime Orchestra sections. Single event performance is available here: BUY TICKETS.