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Abhinaya Dance Company celebrates 30 years in San Jose with Taiko collaboration

AFTER CENTURIES of being handed down from generation to generation, one of India’s oldest dance forms enters the spotlight Aug. 14–15 as San Jose’s Abhinaya Dance Company celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Known for its expressive movement, classical music and living preservation of India’s history, Bharatanatyam first originated in South India where early dancers performed in temples and in the courts of kings, using dramatic gestures to depict scenes from Indian history, mythology and literature. More than just an interpretive dance, however, Bharatanatyam also emphasizes the purity of movement and the beauty of form, and it is something that Abhinaya Dance Company practices to this day.

In the 30 years that Abhinaya’s artistic director Mythili Kumar has been instructing girls in the tradition of Bharatanatyam in San Jose, she has seen an entire generation of young Indian-Americans gain a more intimate understanding of their cultural heritage. By continuing instruction and sharing her students’ performances with a greater audience, Kumar hopes to maintain the tradition in the face of changing times and distractions.

To commemorate the students, teachers and community members who have contributed to Abhinaya over the years and to celebrate not only India’s culture but also San Jose’s diverse, artistic vitality, a weekend of concerts, called “Synergy,” will feature a collaboration between the Japanese drumming ensemble San Jose Taiko, Abhinaya Dance Company and an array of accomplished musicians. These shows will be preceded (at 4pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday) by special programs focusing on traditional dance with choreography by Madurai R. Muralidharan.

Abhinaya Dance Company
Aug. 14, 6pm, and Aug. 15, 4pm
Mexican Heritage Theater, San Jose; $20