Demons and Goddesses
Ballet Flamenco La Rosa created Demons and Goddesses, a collaboration between Indian music and dance (Bharat-Natyam) and Flamenco with Guest Artists, dancer/choreographer Arundhati Chattopadhyaya and vocalist Savitri Ramanand, flute player Steve Gorn, tabalas player Paul Leake, Flamenco guitarist/vocalist Paco Fonta and Flamenco dancers Juana Escobar, Celia Fonta and Artistic Director Ilisa Rosal.
In the art of dance, drama and music, Bharata was the first Guru. He left a valuable manuscript called the Bharata Natya Shastra, an encyclopedia of drama, music and many other subjects, composed according to scholars in about the 2nd Century B.C. "There is no wisdom, nor knowledge, no art, nor craft, no device, nor action that is not to be found in Natya" says the Guru Bharata, and in ancient India, Natya included dance, drama and music.
Bharata Natyam is the dance technique of Tamil Radu (South India). Essentially a solo dance style, Bharata Natyam is marked by sculptured poses with the chiseled sophistication of the great temple carvings. It is a dedicatory dance which for several thousand years, was performed in the sanctuaries of Hindu temples before the deity as a form of worship and devotion. The dancer portrays characters from Hindu mythology and from life experiences.
The meaning of Bharata is a combination of Brama (expression) Raga (musical mode) and Tala (rhythm). The dancer, with the use of advanced hand gestures (Mudras or Hastas) and well choreographed rhythmic pure dance passages, interprets ancient stories and poetry about legendary heroes such as Rama, Krishna and Shira Vishnu. The music used is called Carnatic music. The performance begins with a rhythmic recital, and ends with a joyous burst of pure dance called Thillana.
The art of Flamenco developed in Andalusia, southern Spain, over many centuries. It is a combination of the music and dance of Spain with the Indian, African, Moorish, Gypsy and Jewish music and dance that flourished in the "multicultural" Spain of the Middle Ages.
The forerunners of the Gypsies, as we know them today, were called Katahaka or Gitan and were travelling minstrels from Sind, just off central India. They eventually migrated to northern India where their dance became heavily influenced by the culture brought there by the Moghul rulers. Among other innovations, they incorporated the turns and footwork used by the Dervishes and Sufis.
The Katahaka evolved into resident singers and dancers of the court and were treated as members of the royal family. The proud stance of Mediterranean men and women is perhaps a legacy of the Katahaka influence. When they were caught dipping into the coffers and making free with the imperial treasury, they were banished from India and travelled throughout the Middle East and Eastern and Western Europe settling here and there along the way. For those who reached southern Spain, the artistic climate of the day was found to be ideally suited to their own form of expression, and their music and dance flourished, taking on new dimensions as they mingled with and influenced the indigenous culture.
The Spanish guitar is derived from the Indian guitar or sitar, singing strings. The Spanish castanets are direct descendants of Katahata Klavos and the peineta (comb), mantilla (lace head veil) and flowers for hair were all traditionally worn by Katahaka women, as were the small curls around their face that are now associated with Spanish dancers. To this day, segments of the Spanish Gypsy population decorate their forehead with a cast mark.
Since the Spanish Gypsies were so largely responsible for the development of Flamenco as an art form, incorporating it into their daily lives and rituals as well as public performances, it is clear that their Indian roots are part of the Flamenco heritage. This can still be seen in many aspects of their music and dance, even though other influences have transformed them into a unique form over the centuries.
Flamenco performances include gatherings of family and friends at informal fiestas or juergas, Flamenco clubs, or “tablaos”, and theater performances which may have intricate choreography and/or story ballets.