Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Chance to see Kathakali

A close-up of a Kathakali artist
Author Prathyush Thomas
Source Wikipedia

According to Yorkshire Dance the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company will perform Hima Sundari at Kala Sangam arts centre in Bradford on Sunday 7 June 2015 at 14:00.  Hima Sundari is described as the Kathakali version of Snow White. It is a story about "a young Princess, Hima Sundari who wins the heart of a Prince, but her evil stepmother, who is also the Queen, being jealous of Hima Sundari’s beauty and grace destroys her. Hima Sundari is eventually revived by the dedicated love of the Prince to prove that love conquers evil."

Kathakali is an art form that began in Kerala in the South of India. It is characterized by stylized movement and gestures, percussive music and elaborate costumes and make up with men playing both male and female parts. There is a good introductory video on the company's website with supplementary information on the site's Background page.

The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company was founded in 1987 and has toured the UK extensively to introduce Kathakali to the British public.  There is a timeline on the History page. In addition to its performances the company holds workshops and demonstrations on every aspect of the art form to folk of all cultures, ages and backgrounds. The video Workshops for all ages and abilities  shows classes for performing arts students in Lincoln, primary school pupils in the Scilly Islands, secondary school children in London and senior citizens in a community centre.

Kala Sangam describes itself as "a leading south Asian and collaborative arts organisation based at the Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford."   There is an introduction to its work in the video Kala Sangam - South Asian Arts Centre, UK and the About Kala Sangam page of the centre's website. Kala Sangam is in St Peter' s House at 1 Forster Square in the city centre. It is close to the railway and bus stations and there is usually plenty of street parking on Sunday afternoons. Tickets cost £7.50 (£5.00 concessions) and can be booked through the centre's website.

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