April 27, 8 pm and April 28, 2 and 8 pm
Bringing together the world's leading Kathak artists to charter new and unprecedented directions in Kathak dance, Leela Dance Collective performs the San Francisco premiere of their latest work Son of the Wind. In contrast to the company's production of SPEAK (2017) which highlights how Kathak as an art form can evolve to reach beyond its own expression and build bridges across age, race, religion and nationality, Son of the Wind takes the art form deep within itself and highlights its original expressive form - that of storytelling. Kathak comes from the word "katha" which means story. The kathakas were storytellers that travelled from village to village in ancient India telling the stories of the great Hindu gods and goddesses. While the depiction of Hindu iconography remains visible in modern day kathak, the tradition of telling epic tales through kathak has been left behind by most contemporary practitioners of the art form in favor of more contemporary, abstract, or accessible explorations. Son of the Wind is your classic, tour-de-force kathak dance drama centered around the adventures of Hanuman, the infamous Hindu god who proves to be a central force in the timeless and universal battle between good and evil as told in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. The show provides an opportunity for audience members to experience Kathak in its full expression - as dance, music, theater, poetry, mime - integrated into one. The production is directed by Pandit Chitresh Das' senior disciples, Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta. The show features an original score along with an ensemble featuring some of India's finest musical artists.
Featuring a cast of all female, Kathak dancers, Son of the Wind is powerful as it turns history on its head by presenting a full cast of women playing roles both male and female.