Poetry in Motion

The Indian Dance Educators’ Association interprets Frost, Levenson, Angelou and more.

In 1995, a group of Indian dance instructors formed the Indian Dance Educators’ Association (IDEA) in Arlington to increase the community’s exposure to various styles of traditional Indian dance. Since its founding, IDEA has been hosting dance festivals, offering workshops and lectures and collaborating with professional dancers in the community to foster local appreciation of the art of Indian dance.

On Nov. 19, the Barns at Wolf Trap, in Vienna, will host an IDEA performance entitled Poetry in Motion. This event incorporates classical and contemporary Indian music, American music and recorded readings of selected poems by Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Sam Levenson. Says Asha Vattikuti, executive director of IDEA, “This is the first program of its type. The idea was conceived by the cultural minister at the Embassy of India, Mr. Dhuran, who wanted us to do a production using American music. This led to the use of American poetry as well.”

All Indian dance styles include expressive motion and aim to interpret songs and stories, so the use of poetry in this particular program was natural for its planners. “Frost’s poem ‘Love and Question’ weighs compassionate love versus marital love and questions where one’s obligations lie when the two come into conflict,” says Emily Smalling of the Wolf Trap foundation for the performing arts. “The dancers’ movements depict that struggle through the Kuchipudi style of dance from southern India.” Each of the poems are interpreted through the motion of four traditional forms of Indian dance: Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Odissi, which are rooted in the philosophy of expressing a story through the body’s movements. A diverse range of motion, incorporating dance, rhythm and acrobatics, aims to express the poetry’s cultural themes.

For more information, and tickets, go to WolfTrap.org


Coming soon to the Barns at Wolf Trap:

Nov. 25, 8 p.m.

Pianist John Eaton will perform a selection of his favorite 1940s tunes. Tickets start at $25.

Nov. 26, 8 p.m. 

Newmyer Flyer and Laurel Canyon will celebrate the “Golden Songs of Los Angeles 1966-1972,” including covers of The Mamas & The Papas; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Joni Mitchell; the Doors and a dozen other artists of the period. Tickets starting at $25.

Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, 8 p.m. 

Art Garfunkel will return for three rare performances. Tickets starting at $80.

Dec. 3, 4 p.m.  

Wolf Trap invites you to bring your family and participate in their holiday sing-along event, benefitting Toys for Tots. Admission is free. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted.

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