Jefe's House

Tag: tagore

A Postard From India

by on Mar.08, 2021, under Shaheb Cafe

 

I was honored and proud to be asked to write the foreword to the English version of this moving and vivid short story collection. Congratulations, translator Sanhita Mukherjee and Bengali author Raja Sinha  (also spelled in English Raja Singho). The Postcard Tales launched this weekend at the Chennai Book Fair in India.

Here’s where you can get it:

.

FOREWORD

Jamaica Kincaid once wrote, A great piece of literature encompasses all that is and all that will be.

Yes, this applies even to short stories.

A great short story stands alone. It is not an excerpt from a novel or a vague synopsis of a longer story crammed into a predetermined word count. A great short story is a stolen glance through a window into someone else’s life. The best ones leave us with a sense of “sweet sorrow,” a yearning to linger there on the sidewalk a little longer even though we must press on to our own destinations. Such stories don’t need a contrived cliffhanger ending in order to leave us dying to know what happens next. They accomplish that effect through more organic and nuanced means.

The first short stories I experienced were fairy tales read to me by my mother before I was old enough to go to school. Then came the Jack Tales, a unique feature of my Appalachian upbringing. Later I would discover the short stories of Rabindranath Tagore, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, John Cheever, Edgar Allan Poe. Some capture the human condition with horror, others with humor, others with nightmarish satire. They have all left me comforted in knowing I wasn’t the only one experiencing life’s suffering; that in some way it’s communal, that we’re all in it together. They left me satisfied, but a little bit sad to see them go.

The stories in this collection have captivated me in the same ways. They are unique to India but they are universal to all of us. From the self-mutilation in “Primeval” that I will never be able to expunge from my mind, to the smell of burning books in “The Five Windows,” to the heart- wrenching revelations of a condemned young woman moments before her execution, along with the unspoken and timely themes that accompany them, Raja Sinha has left me haunted.

Even so, I was eager to turn the page and peer through the next glass, following along with the author’s appraisals and inquiries into life, culture, society and survival. May you be moved by his investigations at least half as much as me.

Jeffrey Stanley

Fulbright-Nehru Scholar

New York University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tagore and Whitman at ICCR Kolkata

by on May.21, 2019, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, Theatre

On 4/25/19 I was in a show at ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Kolkata performing selections from Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel-winning “Gitanjali” poetry collection in English while my counterpart Indrani Majumder performed them in Bengali. I ended with a selection from 19th century US poet Walt Whitman‘s “Song of Myself” as it always reminds me of Tagore. Their shared search for the divine in the everyday seems to make them a perfect pairing. Above is a short excerpt from the show.

 

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My Indian Film Debut

by on Apr.28, 2019, under Film/TV, On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, Theatre

byomkesh

Anirban Bhattacharya as Kolkata detective Byomkesh Bakshi on Hoichoi.

Today I had my film debut and I’m thrilled it’s in an Indian flick. I was honored that accomplished director Abhijit Choudhury, whose current HoiChoi (think Bengali Netflix) series Astey, Ladies rocked my world, asked if I’d do him a favor and play a British officer in his new feature film, a period drama entitled Maanbhanjan adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s short story “Giribala.” Really he was doing me the favor because it turns out he’s shooting a historical film set in the 1870s against the backdrop of the nascent Bengali theatre scene which is exactly one of my research areas.

I’m not going to give away the entire plot but suffice it to say they had done their homework and recreated it spot on. My hat’s off to the set designers, choreographer, director and the whole crew. The 1870s saw the first productions of Dinabandhu Mitra’s controversial (for the British) play Nil Darpan (literally “Blue Mirror,” in this case the blue referring to nil darpan coverindigo), which held a mirror up to the gross mistreatment of poor indigo farmers. I won’t go into detail here, but it led to an amazing turn of events and other protest plays culminating in the 1876 passage of the Dramatic Performances Control Act which was only ever enforced by the British against Indian plays.

In my obsession with this time period, and having visited what’s left of Kolkata’s old theatres and perused hundreds of old theatrical advertisements, articles and photos at this point, I have often wished I could go back in time and see the real productions. Tonight on set I got a glimpse of what that might be like. We were shooting in an old playhouse recreating what would have been a typical night at a Bengali theatre, opening with a mythological drama (in this case a story from the life of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha), then a long wait for the audience while the set was changed for the next play, and then a social drama, in this case Nil Darpan.

So here I am watching actors in period clothing doing scenes from Radha-Krishna, then Nil Darpan, while an “audience” of actors in 19th century period attire sat watching and reacting to it. I played a British officer sitting with my wife and our British friends in the front row becoming highly offended and eventually enraged by what I saw onstage. I’m stopping there regarding the plot.

The biggest thrill for me was getting to share the screen with a major star, Anirban Bhattacharya, who is known for many award-winning stage and film roles but he’ll always be HoiChoi Byomkesh to me. Byomkesh is India’s answer to Sherlock Holmes, the stories written by Sharadindu Bandhopadhay and set in pre-Independence Calcutta. I’ve been a fan for several years, have read all the stories, seen I think all of the movie adaptations and all of the HoiChoi episodes. And this was long before I knew I’d not only be meeting Mr. Bhatttacharya but performing alongside him.

At one point I said to a fellow actor who seemed unaware of who he was, “That guy’s a famous actor.” She replied that famous people didn’t impress her.   I said, “Yes but he’s famous for a reason. He’s famous because he’s a terrific actor. One of the finest in India.”

She thought for a moment. “What was his name again?” came her response as she whipped out her phone to Google him. You should have seen me gushing at him between takes pumping his hand up and down saying, “I’m a big fan. I’m aware of who you are. It’s an honor to work with you.”

One more day of shooting for me later this week in which I get to have a face-off with his character. Suffice it to say I’m brushing up on my British accent.

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East & West Poetry Performance This Thursday in Kolkata

by on Apr.23, 2019, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, Theatre

tota april 25th poster

This Thursday, April 25th at 6pm IST I’ll be performing in the East & West poetry reading with Kolkata performance artist Indrani Majumder. I’ll be reading some selections from Rabindranath Tagore’s 1912 Nobel-winning collection “Gitanjali” in English as a counter to Indrani performing the same poems in Bengali. Gitanjali’s central theme in this collection of largely pastoral poems is devotion, or as Tagore puts it in one of his verses, “I am here to sing thee songs”.

When I first read “Gitanjali” years ago it immediately brought Walt Whitman’s late 19th century “Song of Myself” to mind in its sensual appreciation for life and its seeking of the divine in nature. I love this epic poem so much that I keep a small pocket edition in my camping gear and always take it with me backpacking or camping, and make a point of spending a few minutes alone in the forest reading it; a tradition I hope to impart to my son. That said, I’ll be concluding my portion of the evening by reading a selection from “Song of Myself.”

We’re part of a larger evening lineup and the event is free.

Location:

ICCR Kolkata (Indian Council for Cultural Relations)

9A Ho Chi Minh Sarani just opposite the US Consulate

 

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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 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 the Indian classical dance  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.

The 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 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.

 

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 Indian classical dance 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.

The 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 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.

 

 

Leslie Elkins
Jodi Aleen Obeid

 

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  Indian classical dance 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.

The 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 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.

 

 

Leslie Elkins

Jodi Aleen Obeid

 

 

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 Indian classical dance 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.

The 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 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.

 

Leslie Elkins

Jodi Aleen Obeid

 

 

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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