General Information About Our Performances
One of the joys of dancing is sharing the experience with an audience. The classical and folk dances of India are treasures that are worth maintaining and making available to people everywhere. Rangashree makes a point of presenting several performances each year, for the enjoyment of audiences, and for the benefit of the dancers.
To find one of our performances, see our Calendar page. Read on for more about how, where, and why we perform. You can find out about arranging a performance below, and then please contact us if you're interested.
Rangashree's Bharatanatyam performances aim to bring out the spritual aspect of the art, and to be uplifting for the dancer and the audience. This dance form has a background as a ceremonial offering in temples. Presenting it on stage, we want to preserve this intention. Bharatanatyam is, of course, entertaining, but we don't want the experience to stop there. This art form has the potential to take the dancer and the audience to higher level of experience, and that's our purpose.
Perfomances of Bharatanatyam are given in theaters, temples, and suitable outdoor venues - places that allow the spirit of the art to be expressed. Bharatanatyam may be performed in variety programs along with other dance and music forms of similar character. It's not a question of ethnic background, but of attitude. We see more in common between Bharatanatyam and ballet than between Bharatanatyam and Bollywood. Rangashree does not perform Bharatanatyam for weddings or as background entertainment.
Folk Dance Performances
Folk dances express the ceremonial, vocational, religious, and social aspects of Indian culture. The numerous dance forms that have grown from this culture are living traditions. As Indian society has changed and become westernized, so have the dance forms. Rangashree presents performances that aim to preserve the Indian character of the dances.
Folk dance performances are given in theaters, temples, community centers, and outdoor venues. Rangashree also participates in folk dance competitions. Indian folk dances come in many flavors and presentations can be tailored to a variety of purposes. Rangashree does perform folk dances for weddings and other events in which folk dances are traditionally included.
Arranging a Performance
Rangashree is enthusiatic about performing, and we're happy to talk with you about your idea. Here are some things to consider for our discussion.
We've already mentioned some of our guidelines for where we perform. Here are some other considerations for the venue that are unique to Bharatanatyam.
- Bharatanatyam is done barefoot, so the performing surface must be suitable. A smooth wooden stage or professional dance floor is ideal. Other surfaces may work if they are firm and smooth.
- Facial expressions are a key part of the dance, so good lighting is required for the audience to see the dancer's face properly.
- Footwork is important in Bharatanatyam, so the stage should allow the audience to see the dancers' feet.
Things are more flexible with folk dances, but they too are usually done barefoot. If you're considering a variety folk dances, or a mix of Bharatanatyam and folk dances, then keep in mind that
- the sequence of items will be influenced by time required for costume changes, and
- there will need to be a backstage area or green room for dancers to change constumes or to wait between items.
Another consideration for the stage is that Bharatanatyam is performed mainly to one direction. In other words, the view isn't very good from the sides or back of the dancers. Folk dances are not like this; most of them are danced in a circle and look the same from any direction.
According to the purpose of the performance, there are different types of engagements:
- Professional shows for audiences who appreciate the arts
- Outreach or educational shows to engage new audiences who have an interest in other cultures
- Performances at temples or festival occasions where the dance is part of the worship or celebrations
- Private performances for private audiences
This list is roughly in order of preference, to give you an idea of our interests. Ultimately, we evaluate each opportunity on its individual merits, with a focus on how the art will be presented and received.
There isn't much money in performing traditional or classical arts. What motivates us is a love of the arts and a desire to share them with others. We're flexible about money, and more particular about artistic standards and the dignity of the presentation.
For a performance to take place, there are several typical expenses to be addressed.
- A venue must be rented or provided.
- Depending on the facilities, supplemental lighting and sound equipment may need to be rented. Sometimes, the stage surface is unsuitable and a dance floor must be rented.
- The event must be advertised and promoted.
- Flyers and programs may need to be prepared and printed.
- Transportation of performers to rehearsals and to the event (especially if they're minors) may be a factor, depending on the location.
- Costumes need to be prepared (pressed, sometimes adjusted to fit) before the show, and cleaned afterwards (many require dry cleaning).
Generally, if the costs of these requirements can be covered, the performance can happen. Fees for the performance itself are possible if there are ticket sales, sponsorship, or other sources of revenue. There are many variables in arranging a performance, so we don't have an established schedule of fees. Our goal is to enable meaningful performances to take place, and we're willing to work with organizers and sponsors to make it happen. Ideally, costs and benefits are shared fairly among all the contributors.
Usually, we place higher value on the benefits to the art, and to the audience, than we do on the money. Sometimes, for the right cause, we charge nothing or even contribute financial support for a performance.
To inquire about arranging a performance, please contact Paulomi Pandit.