By Gordon David Durich
“A Time to Heal” was the 2022 Archana Festival theme at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza this week. The event presented by the India Friends Association, dedicated to Covid-19 victims, and was a lively program, despite the pandemic.
A return to the usual spectrum of dance plural, music and drama/comedy, celebrated and symbolized the spirit of interconnectedness. The show began with an Invocation, “…Don’t tell God how big your troubles are, tell your troubles how great your God is…” A classic musical medley featuring Tamla and other Western instruments and vocalists including Sai Chandavarkar was soothing and uplifting.
The Rajasthani Dance, a colorful ride full of joy, and evocative of melodious raga in the Indian air drew much applause. The Kathak Dance, by the Leela Dance Academy represented a spirited showcase with a composition of rhythmic complexity, swift turns and subtle gestures set in fast 16 beat TinTal and Ragg Malkauns. Its vocal composition corresponded to the dancers’ footwork.
A topical play “Pandemic and the Family: A Happy Ending,” had some amusing moments. Like when dad Deepak (played by Harish Amar) says, “I was an empty nester, now the birds have come back and they’re tweeting and twittering!”
Bollywood Dance with its energetic and powerful storytelling magic thrilled. Dance is indeed the universal language!
Choreography of the dances and direction of each work, plus lighting and sound, was spectacular.
A tea (chai) and snacks reception was held in the center’s grounds afterwards. A lovely evening in all.
“We share the sun, we share the moon, then can’t we share the earth and all it brings forth?…”