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Last chance for Einstein/Tagore

by on Sep.20, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for coming to our 2012 Philly Fringe show EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS. As Shiva3 Productions (which started as a lark in last year’s Philly Fringe show and then turned into something real) I’ve served as the behind-the-scenes producer, marketer and graphic designer as well as the script consultant for Einstein and Tagore’s adapted conversations recited during the show.  We’ve been truly humbled by the unexpectedly large numbers in attendance for our modest-sized art gallery space. It’s been a thrill for us. The Philly Fringe is primarily theatre-centric, so here we are off to the side in the dance category, and within that we’re something apparently called “ethnic dance” which further reduced our audience expectations, and in a storefront art gallery instead of a theatre.  This show was purely art for art’s sake. You have blown our assumptions about Philadelphia out of the water.

With officially only a 20-seat house, 5 out of 6 shows were sellouts hovering around an audience of 30, and we were literally turning more people away at the door.  If and when the show returns we promise a larger venue with better sightlines. In the meantime please enjoy our rave review in the City Paper.

Many thanks for your support,

Jeffrey Stanley

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A Rave Review in the City Paper

by on Sep.17, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

by Josh Middleton, Philadelphia City Paper

“Taking place in the intimate front room of Twelve Gates Arts gallery in Old City, producer/choreographer/director/dancer Bidisha Dasgupta and fellow dancers Leslie Elkins and Jodi Obeid star in this diamond-in-the-Fringe-rough show inspired by the well-documented religion-versus-science discussions between Einstein and Tagore. Though there is some dialog — the dance routines are interspersed with quick, straight-from-the-script readings by Elkins and Obeid — the dancing is why you should put this on your Fringe itinerary. Dasgupta, decked out in gorgeous, traditional Indian garb, is a force, engaging every ounce of her being in routines that run the gamut from energetic and attention-demanding (“Mangalam: Honoring the Elements”) to rip-your-heart-out passionate (“Trance”). Elkins and Obeid, both with backgrounds in contemporary dance, join in on a few numbers, too, most notably the final performance to Bikram Ghosh’s refreshingly funky “Rhythm Speaks.” It doesn’t have the high-flying acrobatics you might find in some of the more-hyped Live Arts dance shows, but this little must-see will take you on a mesmerizing cultural journey you’ll want to take again and again.”  Full listing and review at http://www.citypaper.net/authors/josh_middleton/FRINGE-REVIEW-EinsteinTagore-Seashore-of-Endless-Worlds.html

 

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3 SOLD OUT SHOWS

by on Sep.16, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Well, now we’re just flabbergasted.  3 shows and 3 standing-room-only sellouts. Not bad for a fringe festival, eh?  EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS has only 3 shows left starting this Thursday.  $10  through the Philly Fringe Festival website.  Get a ticket before they’re gone, no joke.  Thanks so much for your time and support.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA – Shiva3 and Mangalam Dance are proud to announce the world premiere of acclaimed Indian classical dancer Bidisha Dasgupta‘s concert EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS at the 2012 Philly Fringe. The 45-minute show will be performed at Twelve Gates Arts at 51 N. 2nd Street in Olde City for a total of 6 performances.

Dasgupta’s show is a collection of original dance works that draws inspiration from Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore‘s profound conversations in the late 1920s. By combining a movement-based interpretation of their musings with inspiration from Tagore’s poetry and songs, her choreography explores human ties to the cosmos. Her performance fuses the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance with Tagore’s own Rabindra Nritya dance style, as well as modern dance. The concert features Bidisha’s collaborative performances with modern dancers Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid.

Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in the world, originating in southern India some 3,000 years ago. Originally performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship, this ancient dance style is celebrated today for its rhythmic, sculpturesque movements and use of hand gestures and facial expressions to convey a narrative.

Tagore was the greatest poet of modern Indian literature and one of India’s most influential thinkers. In 1913 he became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for his poetry book Gitanjali. This prolific Bengali writer authored over one thousand poems, a dozen plays and novels, and numerous essays on philosophy, education and religion. Tagore was a celebrated composer, and set many of his poems to his own original tunes resulting in the music style known as Rabindra Sangeet, or “Rabindranath songs.” He also created an entirely new dance form known as Rabindra Nritya, or “Rabindranath dance,” which broke away from traditional Indian classical forms, focusing instead on a more naturalized expression of emotions. Tagore was highly educated, widely traveled, and well-versed in both Western and Eastern thought. He took a great interest in science, particularly biology.

In 1926, Tagore met with Einstein in Berlin. They began a years-long series of intellectually and spiritually riveting dialogues about science and spirituality. Their meetings spanned continents and garnered considerable press. A New York Times photo of the two featured the caption A Mathematician and a Mystic Meet in Manhattan. The accompanying article described Tagore as “the poet with the head of a thinker” and Einstein as “the thinker with the head of a poet.” The transcripts of their conversations portray a fascinating discourse on the purpose of existence and humanity’s connection to the Universe.

Their meetings were immortalized in Tel Aviv in 1961 on the 100th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, when a Tagore Street was named. It intersects with Einstein Street so that their conversation can continue.

 

A Unique Location
Twelve Gates Arts (which refers to the fortified gates that walled many ancient cities such as Delhi, Lahore, Jerusalem, and Rhodes – inside of which lay the heart of each city’s art and culture, and which today offer perspectives on history and possibilities), established in 2011, is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. Through a unique and thought-provoking atmosphere, Twelve Gates Arts (12G) aims to showcase international arts bound by the sensibilities of a diaspora identity, including the South Asian identity, to create and promote projects crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, and to educate the community about diaspora culture.

 

About Choreographer and Dancer Bidisha Dasgupta
Bidisha has been dancing since the age of 4. As the past Dance Director of New York City-based multicultural dance and theatre nonprofit eyeBLINK she worked with artists of various disciplines to curate and produce the 2007-08 Rhythms Showcase series. In New York she has presented her original choreography at the Arya Dance Academy, Times Square Initiative, The Women’s Mosaic, Fordham University, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA), PMT, Steps on Broadway and in several festivals and showcases. She created and performed a Bharatanatyam piece for the space-themed Saving Hubble documentary film fundraiser. She has guest lectured about Indian classical dance at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Rowan University. In 2008 she was an invited performer at a Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, India.

Since moving to Philadelphia, Bidisha performed in Mascher Dance Co-OP’s INFlux Spring 2009 Choreographer’s Showcase and has presented her work at various venues including The Frontline Philly Showcase (2009), Philly Fringe (2009), and the Kimmel Center’s Summer Solstice Celebration. She has worked with NJ/PA based Attitudes Dance Co. to develop classical dance-based fusion choreography. In 2009 Bidisha was selected as a New Edge Mix artist by the Community Education Center (CEC), Philadelphia’s longstanding arts incubator.

An Indian classical dancer by training, Bidisha is also proficient in several other dance styles and is an avid choreographer. She studied Bharatanatyam at the Nrityanjali School of Dance (Boston) under guru Smt Jothi Raghavan and completed her arangetram (dance graduation) in 1990. For several years she was a member of the Srijan Dance Company (Boston) which specialized in the Amala Shankar style of Indian modern dance. During her undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University Bidisha choreographed and performed in many Indian classical, bhangra, folk, western modern and competitive ballroom dance shows, garnering several awards.

A recent transplant to Philadelphia, Bidisha is eager to collaborate with local artists to create exciting new works and contribute to the city’s vibrant dance scene. The concert features her collaborative performances with Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid. Leslie is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University and author of Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with noted artist Deborah Hay and Philadelphia-based dance artists Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac, published by Lambert Academic Publishing. She is married to Andrew Buss, Director of Public Programs for the Office of Innovation and Technology in Philadelphia. Jodiis a contemporary dance artist and movement educator. She is a professor of Dance at Rowan University and recently finished a new dance theater performance “The House of Empty” produced by the nEW Festival in Philadelphia.

Listings Information
What: EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS

When: Friday 9/14/12 @6:30pm SOLD OUT, Saturday 9/15/12 @6:30pm SOLD OUT, Sunday 9/16/12 @2pm SOLD OUT, Thursday 9/20/12 @6:30pm, Friday 9/21/12 @6:30pm and Saturday 9/22/12 @2pm

Where: Twelve Gates Arts, 51 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Tickets: $10, purchased only in advance through the Fringe Festival website. No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

###

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2nd Night is also SOLD OUT

by on Sep.14, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS opened tonight 9/14/12 (SOLD OUT), and this just in — the 2nd show is also SOLD OUT.  Only 4 shows left,  $10 only in advance through the Fringe Festival website. No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA – Shiva3 and Mangalam Dance are proud to announce the world premiere of acclaimed Indian classical dancer Bidisha Dasgupta‘s concert EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS at the 2012 Philly Fringe. The 45-minute show will be performed at Twelve Gates Arts at 51 N. 2nd Street in Olde City for a total of 6 performances.

Dasgupta’s show is a collection of original dance works that draws inspiration from Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore‘s profound conversations in the late 1920s. By combining a movement-based interpretation of their musings with inspiration from Tagore’s poetry and songs, her choreography explores human ties to the cosmos. Her performance fuses the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance with Tagore’s own Rabindra Nritya dance style, as well as modern dance. The concert features Bidisha’s collaborative performances with modern dancers Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid.

Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in the world, originating in southern India some 3,000 years ago. Originally performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship, this ancient dance style is celebrated today for its rhythmic, sculpturesque movements and use of hand gestures and facial expressions to convey a narrative.

Tagore was the greatest poet of modern Indian literature and one of India’s most influential thinkers. In 1913 he became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for his poetry book Gitanjali. This prolific Bengali writer authored over one thousand poems, a dozen plays and novels, and numerous essays on philosophy, education and religion. Tagore was a celebrated composer, and set many of his poems to his own original tunes resulting in the music style known as Rabindra Sangeet, or “Rabindranath songs.” He also created an entirely new dance form known as Rabindra Nritya, or “Rabindranath dance,” which broke away from traditional Indian classical forms, focusing instead on a more naturalized expression of emotions. Tagore was highly educated, widely traveled, and well-versed in both Western and Eastern thought. He took a great interest in science, particularly biology.

In 1926, Tagore met with Einstein in Berlin. They began a years-long series of intellectually and spiritually riveting dialogues about science and spirituality. Their meetings spanned continents and garnered considerable press. A New York Times photo of the two featured the caption A Mathematician and a Mystic Meet in Manhattan. The accompanying article described Tagore as “the poet with the head of a thinker” and Einstein as “the thinker with the head of a poet.” The transcripts of their conversations portray a fascinating discourse on the purpose of existence and humanity’s connection to the Universe.

Their meetings were immortalized in Tel Aviv in 1961 on the 100th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, when a Tagore Street was named. It intersects with Einstein Street so that their conversation can continue.

 

A Unique Location
Twelve Gates Arts (which refers to the fortified gates that walled many ancient cities such as Delhi, Lahore, Jerusalem, and Rhodes – inside of which lay the heart of each city’s art and culture, and which today offer perspectives on history and possibilities), established in 2011, is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. Through a unique and thought-provoking atmosphere, Twelve Gates Arts (12G) aims to showcase international arts bound by the sensibilities of a diaspora identity, including the South Asian identity, to create and promote projects crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, and to educate the community about diaspora culture.

 

About Choreographer and Dancer Bidisha Dasgupta
Bidisha has been dancing since the age of 4. As the past Dance Director of New York City-based multicultural dance and theatre nonprofit eyeBLINK she worked with artists of various disciplines to curate and produce the 2007-08 Rhythms Showcase series. In New York she has presented her original choreography at the Arya Dance Academy, Times Square Initiative, The Women’s Mosaic, Fordham University, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA), PMT, Steps on Broadway and in several festivals and showcases. She created and performed a Bharatanatyam piece for the space-themed Saving Hubble documentary film fundraiser. She has guest lectured about Indian classical dance at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Rowan University. In 2008 she was an invited performer at a Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, India.

Since moving to Philadelphia, Bidisha performed in Mascher Dance Co-OP’s INFlux Spring 2009 Choreographer’s Showcase and has presented her work at various venues including The Frontline Philly Showcase (2009), Philly Fringe (2009), and the Kimmel Center’s Summer Solstice Celebration. She has worked with NJ/PA based Attitudes Dance Co. to develop classical dance-based fusion choreography. In 2009 Bidisha was selected as a New Edge Mix artist by the Community Education Center (CEC), Philadelphia’s longstanding arts incubator.

An Indian classical dancer by training, Bidisha is also proficient in several other dance styles and is an avid choreographer. She studied Bharatanatyam at the Nrityanjali School of Dance (Boston) under guru Smt Jothi Raghavan and completed her arangetram (dance graduation) in 1990. For several years she was a member of the Srijan Dance Company (Boston) which specialized in the Amala Shankar style of Indian modern dance. During her undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University Bidisha choreographed and performed in many Indian classical, bhangra, folk, western modern and competitive ballroom dance shows, garnering several awards.

Leslie Elkins
Jodi Aleen Obeid

A recent transplant to Philadelphia, Bidisha is eager to collaborate with local artists to create exciting new works and contribute to the city’s vibrant dance scene. The concert features her collaborative performances with Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid. Leslie is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University and author of Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with noted artist Deborah Hay and Philadelphia-based dance artists Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac, published by Lambert Academic Publishing. She is married to Andrew Buss, Director of Public Programs for the Office of Innovation and Technology in Philadelphia. Jodi is a contemporary dance artist and movement educator. She is a professor of Dance at Rowan University and recently finished a new dance theater performance “The House of Empty” produced by the nEW Festival in Philadelphia.

 

Listings Information
What: EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS

When: Friday 9/14/12 @6:30pm (SOLD OUT), Saturday 9/15/12 @6:30pm, Sunday 9/16/12 @2pm, Thursday 9/20/12 @6:30pm, Friday 9/21/12 @6:30pm and Saturday 9/22/12 @2pm

Where: Twelve Gates Arts, 51 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Tickets: $10, purchased only in advance through the Fringe Festival website. No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

###

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5 SOLD OUT Shows

by on Sep.05, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

NEXT SHOW
October 20, 2012, 6:30pm
Prabasi of New England
Durga Puja Celebration
Randolph, MA
Einstein/Tagore: Seashore of Endless Worlds
The hit Philly Fringe show comes to the Boston area


Thank you so much for coming to our 2012 Philly Live Arts Fringe show EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS. As Shiva3 Productions (which started as a lark in last year’s Philly Fringe show and then turned into something real) I’ve served as the behind-the-scenes producer, marketer and graphic designer as well as the script consultant for Einstein and Tagore’s adapted conversations recited during the show.  We were truly humbled by the unexpectedly large numbers in attendance for our modest-sized art gallery space. It’s been a thrill for us. The Philly Fringe is primarily theatre-centric, so here we are off to the side in the dance category, and within that we’re something apparently called “ethnic dance” which further reduced our audience expectations, and in a storefront art gallery instead of a theatre.   You have blown our assumptions about Philadelphia out of the water.

With officially only a 20-seat house, 5 out of 6 shows were sellouts hovering around an audience of 30, and we were literally turning more people away at the door night after night in order not to violate the fire code.  When the show returns we promise a larger venue with better sightlines. In the meantime please enjoy our rave review in the City Paper.

Many thanks for your support,

Jeffrey Stanley, Shiva3

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA – Shiva3 and Mangalam Dance are proud to announce the world premiere of acclaimed Indian classical dancer Bidisha Dasgupta‘s concert EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS at the 2012 Philly Fringe. The 45-minute show will be performed at Twelve Gates Arts at 51 N. 2nd Street in Olde City for a total of 6 performances in September.

Dasgupta’s show is a collection of original dance works that draws inspiration from Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore‘s profound conversations in the late 1920s. By combining a movement-based interpretation of their musings with inspiration from Tagore’s poetry and songs, her choreography explores human ties to the cosmos. Her performance fuses the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance with Tagore’s own Rabindra Nritya dance style, as well as modern dance. The concert features Bidisha’s collaborative performances with modern dancers Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid.

Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in the world, originating in southern India some 3,000 years ago. Originally performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship, this ancient dance style is celebrated today for its rhythmic footwork, sculpturesque movements and use of hand gestures and facial expressions to convey a narrative.

Tagore was the greatest poet of modern Indian literature and one of India’s most influential thinkers. In 1913 he became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for his poetry book Gitanjali. This prolific Bengali writer authored over one thousand poems, a dozen plays and novels, and numerous essays on philosophy, education and religion. Tagore was a celebrated composer, and set many of his poems to his own original tunes resulting in the music style known as Rabindra Sangeet, or “Rabindranath songs.” He also created an entirely new dance form known as Rabindra Nritya, or “Rabindranath dance,” which broke away from traditional Indian classical forms, focusing instead on a more naturalized expression of emotions. Tagore was highly educated, widely traveled, and well-versed in both Western and Eastern thought. He took a great interest in science, particularly biology.

In 1926, Tagore met with Einstein in Berlin. They began a years-long series of intellectually and spiritually riveting dialogues about science and spirituality. Their meetings spanned continents and garnered considerable press. A New York Times photo of the two featured the caption A Mathematician and a Mystic Meet in Manhattan. The accompanying article described Tagore as “the poet with the head of a thinker” and Einstein as “the thinker with the head of a poet.” The transcripts of their conversations portray a fascinating discourse on the purpose of existence and humanity’s connection to the Universe.

Their meetings were immortalized in Tel Aviv in 1961 on the 100th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, when a Tagore Street was named. It intersects with Einstein Street so that their conversation can continue.

 

A Unique Location
Twelve Gates Arts (which refers to the fortified gates that walled many ancient cities such as Delhi, Lahore, Jerusalem, and Rhodes – inside of which lay the heart of each city’s art and culture, and which today offer perspectives on history and possibilities), established in 2011, is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. Through a unique and thought-provoking atmosphere, Twelve Gates Arts (12G) aims to showcase international arts bound by the sensibilities of a diaspora identity, including the South Asian identity, to create and promote projects crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, and to educate the community about diaspora culture.

 

About Choreographer and Dancer Bidisha Dasgupta
Bidisha has been dancing since the age of 4. As the past Dance Director of New York City-based multicultural dance and theatre nonprofit eyeBLINK she worked with artists of various disciplines to curate and produce the 2007-08 Rhythms Showcase series. In New York she has presented her original choreography at the Arya Dance Academy, Times Square Initiative, The Women’s Mosaic, Fordham University, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA), PMT, Steps on Broadway and in several festivals and showcases. She created and performed a Bharatanatyam piece for the space-themed Saving Hubble documentary film fundraiser. She has guest lectured about Indian classical dance at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Rowan University. In 2008 she was an invited performer at a Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, India.

Since moving to Philadelphia, Bidisha performed in Mascher Dance Co-OP’s INFlux Spring 2009 Choreographer’s Showcase and has presented her work at various venues including The Frontline Philly Showcase (2009), Philly Fringe (2009), and the Kimmel Center’s Summer Solstice Celebration. She has worked with NJ/PA based Attitudes Dance Co. to develop classical dance-based fusion choreography. In 2009 Bidisha was selected as a New Edge Mix artist by the Community Education Center (CEC), Philadelphia’s longstanding arts incubator.

An Indian classical dancer by training, Bidisha is also proficient in several other dance styles and is an avid choreographer. She studied Bharatanatyam at the Nrityanjali School of Dance (Boston) under guru Smt Jothi Raghavan and completed her arangetram (dance graduation) in 1990. For several years she was a member of the Srijan Dance Company (Boston) which specialized in the Amala Shankar style of Indian modern dance. During her undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University Bidisha choreographed and performed in many Indian classical, bhangra, folk, western modern and competitive ballroom dance shows, garnering several awards.

Leslie Elkins

Jodi Aleen Obeid

A recent transplant to Philadelphia, Bidisha is eager to collaborate with local artists to create exciting new works and contribute to the city’s vibrant dance scene. The concert features her collaborative performances with Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid. Leslie is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University and author of Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with noted artist Deborah Hay and Philadelphia-based dance artists Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac, published by Lambert Academic Publishing. She is married to Andrew Buss, Director of Public Programs for the Office of Innovation and Technology in Philadelphia. Jodi is a contemporary dance artist and movement educator. She is a professor of Dance at Rowan University and recently finished a new dance theater performance “The House of Empty” produced by the nEW Festival in Philadelphia.

 

Listings Information
What: EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS

When: Friday 9/14/12 @6:30pm (SOLD OUT), Saturday 9/15/12 @6:30pm (SOLD OUT), Sunday 9/16/12 @2pm (SOLD OUT), Thursday 9/20/12 @6:30pm, Friday 9/21/12 @6:30pm (SOLD OUT) and Saturday 9/22/12 @2pm (SOLD OUT).

Where: Twelve Gates Arts, 51 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Tickets: $10, purchased only in advance through the Fringe Festival website. No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

###

 

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Einstein/Tagore: Seashore of Endless Worlds opens in 1 month. This show WILL sell out.

by on Aug.14, 2012, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Opens 9/14/12 for 6 performances.  Tickets: $10, only in advance through the Fringe Festival website.  No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA –  Shiva3 and Mangalam Dance are proud to announce the world premiere of acclaimed Indian classical dancer Bidisha Dasgupta‘s concert EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS at the 2012 Philly Fringe.   The 45-minute show will be performed at Twelve Gates Arts at 51 N. 2nd Street in Olde City for a total of 6 performances.

Dasgupta’s show is a collection of original dance works that draws inspiration from Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore‘s profound conversations in the late 1920s.  By combining a movement-based interpretation of their musings with inspiration from Tagore’s poetry and songs, her choreography explores human ties to the cosmos.  Her performance fuses the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance with Tagore’s own Rabindra Nritya dance style, as well as modern dance.  The concert features Bidisha’s collaborative performances with modern dancers Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen Obeid.  

Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in the world, originating in southern India some 3,000 years ago.  Originally performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship, this ancient dance style is celebrated today for its rhythmic, sculpturesque movements and use of hand gestures and facial expressions to convey a narrative.

Tagore was the greatest poet of modern Indian literature and one of India’s most influential thinkers.  In 1913 he became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for his poetry book Gitanjali.  This prolific Bengali writer authored over one thousand poems, a dozen plays and novels, and numerous essays on philosophy, education and religion.  Tagore was a celebrated composer, and set many of his poems to his own original tunes resulting in the music style known as Rabindra Sangeet, or “Rabindranath songs.”  He also created an entirely new dance form known as Rabindra Nritya, or “Rabindranath dance,” which broke away from traditional Indian classical forms, focusing instead on a more naturalized expression of emotions.  Tagore was highly educated, widely traveled, and well-versed in both Western and Eastern thought.  He took a great interest in science, particularly biology.

In 1926, Tagore met with Einstein in Berlin.  They began a years-long series of intellectually and spiritually riveting dialogues about science and spirituality.  Their meetings spanned continents and garnered considerable press.  A New York Times photo of the two featured the caption A Mathematician and a Mystic Meet in Manhattan. The accompanying article described Tagore as “the poet with the head of a thinker” and Einstein as “the thinker with the head of a poet.”  The transcripts of their conversations portray a fascinating discourse on the purpose of existence and humanity’s connection to the Universe.

Their meetings were immortalized in Tel Aviv in 1961 on the 100th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, when a Tagore Street was named.  It intersects with Einstein Street so that their conversation can continue.

 

A Unique Location
Twelve Gates Arts (which refers to the fortified gates that walled many ancient cities such as Delhi, Lahore, Jerusalem, and Rhodes – inside of which lay the heart of each city’s art and culture, and which today offer perspectives on history and possibilities), established in 2011, is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia.  Through a unique and thought-provoking atmosphere, Twelve Gates Arts (12G) aims to showcase international arts bound by the sensibilities of a diaspora identity, including the South Asian identity, to create and promote projects crossing cultural and geographical boundaries, and to educate the community about diaspora culture.

 

About Choreographer and Dancer Bidisha Dasgupta
Bidisha has been dancing since the age of 4. As the past Dance Director of  New York City-based multicultural dance and theatre nonprofit eyeBLINK she worked with artists of various disciplines to curate and produce the 2007-08 Rhythms Showcase series.   In New York she has presented her original choreography at the Arya Dance Academy, Times Square Initiative, The Women’s Mosaic, Fordham University, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA), PMT, Steps on Broadway and in several festivals and showcases. She created and performed a Bharatanatyam piece for the space-themed Saving Hubble documentary film fundraiser.  She has guest lectured about Indian classical dance at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Rowan University.  In 2008 she was an invited performer at a Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, India.

Since moving to Philadelphia, Bidisha performed in Mascher Dance Co-OP’s INFlux Spring 2009 Choreographer’s Showcase and has presented her work at various venues including The Frontline Philly Showcase (2009), Philly Fringe (2009), and the Kimmel Center’s Summer Solstice Celebration.  She has worked with NJ/PA based Attitudes Dance Co. to develop classical dance-based fusion choreography.  In 2009 Bidisha was selected as a New Edge Mix artist by the Community Education Center (CEC), Philadelphia’s longstanding arts incubator.

An Indian classical dancer by training, Bidisha is also proficient in several other dance styles and is an avid choreographer. She studied Bharatanatyam at the Nrityanjali School of Dance (Boston) under guru Smt Jothi Raghavan and completed her arangetram (dance graduation) in 1990. For several years she was a member of the Srijan Dance Company (Boston) which specialized in the Amala Shankar style of Indian modern dance. During her undergraduate years at Case Western Reserve University Bidisha choreographed and performed in many Indian classical, bhangra, folk, western modern and competitive ballroom dance shows, garnering several awards.

Leslie Elkins

Jodi Aleen Obeid

A recent transplant to Philadelphia, Bidisha is eager to collaborate with local artists to create exciting new works and contribute to the city’s vibrant dance scene. The concert features her collaborative performances with Leslie Elkins and Jodi Aleen ObeidLeslie is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University and author of Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, a phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with noted artist Deborah Hay and Philadelphia-based dance artists Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac, published by Lambert Academic Publishing. She is married to Andrew Buss, Director of Public Programs for the Office of Innovation and Technology in Philadelphia.  Jodi is a contemporary dance artist and movement educator.  She is a professor of Dance at Rowan University and recently finished a new dance theater performance “The House of Empty” produced by the nEW Festival in Philadelphia.

 

Listings Information
What: EINSTEIN/TAGORE:  SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS

When: Friday 9/14/12 @6:30pm, Saturday 9/15/12 @6:30pm, Sunday 9/16/12 @2pm, Thursday 9/20/12 @6:30pm, Friday 9/21/12 @6:30pm and Saturday 9/22/12 @2pm

Where:  Twelve Gates Arts, 51 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Tickets: $10, purchased only in advance through the Fringe Festival website.  No tickets will be sold in person at the door.

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Post-crypt

by on Sep.19, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

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Allow me to take a moment to drop the self-aggrandizing persona that’s part and parcel of our show and break character  (I know; even though I was playing myself).  Even with a one-man show there’s no such thing as a one-man show. Part of the joy of producing theatre is that it’s a collaborative medium that requires teamwork.

I must thank my superbly imaginative supergenius director Daniel Student who elevated our show from a mere monologue or storytelling session into a truly theatrical experience. Our show got great press but rarely is the director mentioned in the chaotic coverage of a fringe festival.  So, many thanks to Dan for reading my mind, for bringing our show to life while staying true to my vision for the show, and for helping me stay true to its themes.

Then there’s Randy Dalton, the sculptor behind the Blue Grotto, a lost gem in Philly’s visual art scene into which I was thrilled to help breathe new life.  The Grotto is Randy’s baby but he was extremely welcoming and accommodating, letting us remove or relocate certain objects to improve sightlines, letting us come and go as we pleased at all hours, letting me summon the dead and offer them a new place to live, and even letting us replace some of his cherished blue bulbs with white ones to add a high contrast, flashlight-under-the-face, campfire ghost story mood when I stepped into certain areas.

Also I must thank CEC Executive Director Terri Shockley and Building Manager Scott Maits for their assistance, flexibility and curiosity about our show.

And I must thank Shiva3 Productions and Iggy Rocketboy, a fellow newcomer (even newer than me) to Philly.  This phantasmal young man’s unorthodox approach to publicity and marketing put us in the limelight — no easy feat when competing against literally dozens of other fringe shows on any given night.  The Rep Radio interview, the coverage by philly2philly.com, the City Paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian (who named us one of their 5 Must See shows, I might add) and the Philly Daily News all happened largely due to iRock’s quirky machinations and tendency to write his own playbook as went along (how many plays have a jingle?), delighting in breaking nearly every rule of what passes for professional theatrical PR. It was also Iggy’s idea to give every audience member two free gifts; a ouija board homemade by Jeff and a copy of one of Jack Chick’s fundamentalist Christian comic book tracts, Bewitched? because of its thematic relevance to the show.

I am deeply indebted and grateful also to my arts-loving, beautiful, rocket scientist superwife Pia whose patience and willingness to let me disappear night after night to rehearse and to perform a dark, diabolical (some would say profane) show, her willingness even to curtail our summer vacation plans so I could make martinis and play with ouija boards, and her eagerness to sit in on dress rehearsals and offer feedback, went stratospherically above and beyond the call of spousal duty.

And lastly there are my eternally beloved guest stars who shared the stage with me night after night on extremely short notice — SHALEE, DAVID, MALA, F.R.A., “NAMAZ,” “HABIB,” “KHEF” and all the other nameless souls. God bless them all and may they find peace, wherever and whatever they are.

 

 

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Ouija Log – 9/17/11

by on Sep.19, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Jeffrey Stanley in Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. Photos by Steve Kelly.

Egypt and Israel Dominate Talks

The closing night show was so overwhelming it’s taken me an extra day to calm down enough to write about the Ouija session with some clarity. After 7 evenings of supernatural dissatisfaction for me personally during the brief run of the show and having to close every evening using the nuclear option I was about ready to give up on the spirit world as being able to reach out directly to anyone.

Enter M.

M. was an eager audience member in the final show who joined in with audience volunteer  S. to person the Ouija board. They were escorted away and left alone for awhile as usual to try their hands at the board, reaching out to the netherworld in the Hell Room before I returned with the rest of the audience to rejoin them and see if they’d tuned into anything. Here is the main highlight that left us all haunted, especially M:

QUESTIONER (M) (to Jeff): I’m really freaked out right now. I have goose bumps and my hair’s standing on end.

JEFF:  That’s normal when you’ve brought someone into the room. Something’s here with us. Do you want to quit?

M: No. I’m just letting you know that I’m freaked. My hands are shaking, I’m afraid I’ll mess up with the planchette.

JEFF: Why don’t you stop? I can take your place.

The power of theatre commands demons up from Hell and Angels down from Zion.

M: No, I want to keep going.

JEFF (to Ouija board):  What’s your name?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs):  KHEF

JEFF: Khef?  I bet that turns out to be Arabic or Hindi (why I thought so).  I’ve seen a lot this week so let’s assume it’s a real language and not gibberish. Are you Khef?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Oh.  Well, do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo?

SPIRIT: NO

M: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: YES

M: Who?

SPIRIT: M—- (spelling out M’s name)

M: Oh wow. Do you want to tell me something?

Stanley seated before the everyouija.

At that the planchette shot down at breakneck speed to GOODBYE and refused to budge for anyone. Game over. We ended the session and all returned to the Blue Grotto and I wrapped up the show as usual, using the nuclear option — a personal disappointment for me but a fun way to end a show about Ouija boards.

Afterward M. stuck around as  I began to strike the set for the last time, eager to talk to me at length about her first mind-blowing experience on a Ouija board this evening. She needed to unburden herself; I’ve been there, I know what that’s like so I stopped my work and listened.  She was highly unsettled.  She explained to me that she’s Jewish and said that in the Jewish tradition it’s strictly forbidden to contact the dead.  I asked why she did it and — bless her heart — she said she did it to help me find the closure that I need. That was selfless of her but I hated that the experience had left her freaked out. In the end it’s only a show and not worth the trauma.

She said she has immediate ancestors who died tortuous deaths in the Holocaust and that she’d always been afraid to think about how they’d perished. Facing their cruel fate is her worst nightmare, and the thought of hearing directly from them about how they suffered has always been more than she could bear.

“Maybe it appeared to let you know they’re there, but went to Goodbye so quickly to avoid having to tell you what it knows you don’t want to hear, ” I suggested, “to spare you the pain.”

M: That’s exactly what it did. That’s what I’m telling you.

The Israel Stele

Then I get home and find out that KHEF isn’t Arabic, Hindi or even Urdu.   It’s  Egyptian.  It’s the name of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph that means “to be laid waste or destroyed.”  A reference to the Holocaust in our case?   And this hieroglyph appears on the Israel Stele of all things, so-called by archaeologists because it’s the only ancient Egyptian document mentioning Israel by name.  And if you don’t know, a stele is a monument to the dead… Yeah. You tell me.

Good luck, everyone, with your own nightmares and ghosts, and thank you for your support for Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead.

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Ouija Log – 9/16/11

by on Sep.17, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

A UFO inside the Blue Grotto contains...

WORST OUIJA CHAT EVER.  Very little action last night. I’m not even going to bother alerting my press list on this one, especially not SR at The Daily Pennsylvanian despite her colleagues’ apparent love for my show, for which we are grateful. The only highlight if you want to call it that was –

JEFF:  Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: What is it?

SPIRIT: HABIB

JEFF: Um, no. There is not a “habib” taped to the back of the photo (boy was I wrong; see below).  Is Habib your name?

SPIRIT: NO

...American culture en route to Mars.

Mind you I’m not touching the board during these conversations. It’s always being operated by two audience volunteers other than at a few brief times between chats when I get on the board to warm it up, if you will.  I know of course that Habib is an Arabic male name but I looked up its actual meaning and it’s “beloved” or “loved one” which in that case makes it similar to the 9/10 transcript when DAVID told us that HOME was taped to the back and it put a lump in my throat.

Had I known last night that a habib was a loved one and that the board was again speaking to me in Arabic I’d have been a little less dismissive.  This would mark the 4th time out of 7 sessions that a directly Islamic or at least South Asian presence has been on the board — there was also the 9/14 session when it kept telling us NAMAZ, NAMAZ (pray, pray in Arabic), then there was the South Asian 5-year-old girl named MALA on 9/15 and SHALEE on 9/8.

All fascinating but surprising because given our geographical locus I was expecting a lot of old Philadelphia Quakers with names like Rachel or  Zebulon or Nehemiah or at least some Johns or Williams or Marys.  Yes there was David but he died in 1976 and lives in LA so he doesn’t count.

Lesson learned: never make assumptions about the spirit world/human subconscious.

Only 1 show left and it’s tonight and it’s the final Paranormal Psaturday – the first three ticket holders to show me a convincing photograph or smartphone video clip of authentic-looking paranormal activity in their homes will be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate. Full details and ticket info.

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Ouija Log – 9/15/11

by on Sep.15, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

During the final days of the festival BZ:ABOTD has made the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Must-See list, and that includes the curated Live Arts shows, which is extremely flattering.  You haven’t seen the show yet? Only 2 chances left, and remember tonight is Freemasonry Fridays – the first three ticket holders to discretely wear their Masonic rings or other authentic Masonic logo jewelry and show it to me in secret before the show will secretly be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate.  Don’t try to pull a fast one— I know my Masonic jewelry.

The planchette on the Ouija board was flying all over the place last night. I mean it would shoot off the edge of the board sometimes and the volunteers would have to put it back on and reposition their fingers before it took off again like a little sportscar making hairpin turns all across the alphabet.  Transcript highlights:

QUESTIONER:  How old are you?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs): 5 AND A HALF

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT: MALA (turns out it’s a Hindu name meaning garland of flowers)

QUESTIONER: When did you die?

(here it swept a broad ellipse around the board and then swooped into a sideways figure 8 pattern — the symbol for infinity — over and over again in the center of the board)

QUESTIONER: When were you born?

SPIRIT:   0…1

JEFF: Maybe she doesn’t know the year.  She’s only 5 years old.  Where are you now?

(infinity pattern in response)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you die?

SPIRIT: MOM MOM MOM MOM

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did she kill you?

(infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER: Do you resent her for it?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Are you in the room with us?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Where are you standing in relation to me?

SPIRIT: LEFT

JEFF: (indicating with hand) Right here?

(back to the infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER:  She’s everywhere in the room.

JEFF: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Do you live here at the CEC?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know any of the other spirits we’ve talked to throughout the run of the show who also say they live here?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know initials FRA?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Tell FRA I said hi.  Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Okay, what is it?

SPIRIT:  MNMNMNMN (which I took to mean “mmmm…”, thinking; remember we’re dealing with a 5 year old)

JEFF: It’s okay if you don’t know.

SPIRIT:  NO

JEFF: Okay, no worries.  Big hand for Mala.

Full details and ticket info.

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