It is a timeless story of love, tragedy and triumph. Dance performer, choreographer and instructor Jothi Raghavan of Westford will present “Bhavayami Raghu Ramam,” in Bharata Natyam – classical dance from southern India – to interpret “Ramayanam."
It is a timeless story of love, tragedy and triumph. Dance performer, choreographer and instructor Jothi Raghavan of Westford will present “Bhavayami Raghu Ramam,” in Bharata Natyam – classical dance from southern India – to interpret “Ramayanam,” which tells of the heroic Rama and his beloved wife, Sita. Eleven dancers and musicians will perform aspects of the tale, illuminated by Raghavan’s choreography, in a show set for Sunday at Littleton High School. “People will enjoy the presentation, even if they are not familiar with Indian mythologies,” Raghavan said. Beyond Bollywood Classical Indian forms such as Bharata Natyam originate in temple rites. In India, Raghavan said, dance is still revered. But making a living as a dancer is not easy. Raghavan said, “Dance is not encouraged as a career move. People want their children to be engineers or doctors. Artists are out of the mainstream, just like anywhere.” Raghavan has dedicated herself to dance since the 1970s. Her dance school, based in Westford and Bedford, is Nrityanjali, meaning, “offering of dance.” Her pride in her students shines through. One student, Neha Kumar, of Westford, will give her first recital for family and friends on Aug. 1, also at Littleton High School. Raghavan hopes her education efforts will reach beyond her students to the general public, especially those whose knowledge of Indian dance may begin and end with Bollywood. Bollywood has helped expose the mainstream to the art form, but a classical dance performance can take an audience to the culture’s deepest roots, she said. Recalling her first days of performing in the United States, she said, “When I said Indian dance, people thought I meant Native American dance.” She observed, “When Madonna started, I knew we had arrived.” If you go “Bhavayami Raghu Ramam,” a Bharata Natyam dance presentation by Jothi Raghavan When: Sunday, Aug. 2, 5 p .m. Where: Littleton High School, Performing Arts Center, 56 King St., Littleton Cost: $50 patrons, $20 general, $15 students and seniors. Benefits LearnQuest Academy of Music in Waltham. For more information: Call 978-392-4677 or 508-481-7842 or visit www.learnquest.org. Margaret Smith is Arts and Calendar editor at GateHouse Media New England’s Northwest Unit. E-mail her at email@example.com.