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Third Eye Dancers “Enchanted Snow White”-A Worthy Fund-raiser for the Bhutanese Refugees
BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by Venkat Kuttua
Third Eye Dancers, an Atlanta based not for profit organization and Bharathakala Natya Academy, in partnership with Sewa International and The Art of Living Foundation presented an enthralling dance drama,’ Enchanted Snow White’ based on a beloved time-less fairy-tale of Snow White, as a fundraiser for Bhutanese Refugee Children’s Education, at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, on Saturday,October.29
The show, a sold-out event which attracted over 650 patrons, was a breathtaking magical spectacle, a synthesis of colorful costumes, pulsating music and over thirteen captivating dance pieces by the Bharathakala Natya Academy’s talented and well- trained students (over 60 students) , which transported the audience to the magical kingdom of Snow White and the fairies. The innovative and imaginative concept, story and choreography were by Bharathakala Natya Academy’s Founder and artistic Director, Subathra Sudarshan who the audience spellbound with her choreography and presentation skills.
After extending a warm welcome to all, Sudarshan, explained the mission of Third Eye Dancers was to increase awareness about social issues affecting children, through dance so that they with their parents can get involved in the remediation of such issues. He talked about their previous causes and fundraisers. He talked about how SEWA and Art of Living Foundation have helped Bhutanese refugees transition to American culture and to new life style, adding that some Johns Creek 1th and 12th Graders have been helping Bhutanese students over weekends with English, Math, and SAT tests preparation. “Enchanted Snow White’s underlying moral is “No matter what your race (or color) is or how you look physically, to be truly beautiful you need to have noble virtues.” he said. Sudarshan urged audience to meet Bhutanese families and Ralph Parker in the audience and offer help. He thanked all the volunteers and the audience.
Fairy God Mother (Marsha Hildebrand) in crystal clear delivery narrates the tale. The King (Abay Radhakrishnan) and Queen (Lakshmi Thesam) enter with the beautiful baby Snow White. The young princess loses her mother and the King re-marries. Little Snow White’s (Mirra’s) step-mother (Subathra)is an evil and jealous woman. Subathra’s skill for 'abhinaya' was evident in the expressions of the swiftly changing moods of the evil queen from one of anger to cunningly plotting against Snow White.
The evil queen, who is a sorceress creates a Magic Mirror and asks” Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the most beautiful of them all? The Mirror replies, “You are beautiful of course, but there is someone who is more beautiful than you-Snow White, because she has seven noble virtues generous, brave, humble, honest, non-violent and full of love. Heeding Mirror’s advice, the Queen charms Snow White (Vishwa) into giving all her noble qualities. Snow White is advised by Fairy Mother to travel the four corners of the departure by reclining on a seat and watching a Tillana dance. Snow White travels to the ‘land of courage’ and faces the five elements. The backdrop showing the five elements adds sheen to the captivating dance. Snow White’s journey continues from land of humility to the land of Truth, carrying the ‘stone of tears’. The Queen orders bearded and long-haired huntsman (Nagi Natarajan) to kill Snow White.
Hypnotic ‘animal dance’ and Snow White (Harini
Indrakrishnan)’s exquisite ‘Tillana’ commanded audience’s rapt attention. Huntsman throws away his axe and enters into a sword-fight with the valiant Prince (Nanthesan Sudarshan) and is defeated. Snow White reaches the land of peace and finds tranquility there. Snow White and the fairies perform Peacock dance and the piece-de-resistance dance to the uplifting song,”Om Shanti,Shanti,Shanti,which earned a well-deserved wide applause. The Queen transforms herself into an old witch (Vani Kokilakumar).The witch with a dark-brown long-nosed mask with a long stick in one hand and a basket with apples in the other, tries to kill Snow White (Ishwarya) . Snow White bites the apple and faints but the Prince comes and revives her. They perform a dance together and the story ends with a heartwarming ending with the Fairy Mother commenting”All of us are human, and once in a while we all lose our way. But we can regain our virtues just like Snow White.”
Marsha who plays the role of Fairy Mother was honored to be invited. "The total experience from conception to performance is my take away. The wonderful thing about charity is that I always get so much more than I could ever give!" she added.
Subathra Sudarshan as the Evil Queen; Marsha Hildebrand ,Vani Kokilakumar,Nanthesan Sudarshan, and
the four girls Mirra Vetrivel,Vishwa Sevak,Harini Indrakrishnan;and Ishwarya Venkatachalam who play Snow White’s role excelled in their roles.
All performers deserve plaudits for their stellar and breezy performances. The costumes, facial adornments, use of peacock feathers, leaves and flowers in adornments were praiseworthy. The specially created imaginative scenic multimedia backdrop showed moving scenery of cascading waterfalls, thunder and lightning, castles, gardens, and even exploding fireworks! And enhanced the magical feel of the fairy tale. The brilliance and elegance of the choreography, the perfection of the technique blended with liveliness and the variety of the dance pieces deserve accolades. An evening spent in watching this production is definitely an evening well spent.
Subathra felt a fairy tale is a great way of conveying a story line. “What makes one beautiful is not just the physical aspect but the values they imbibe and portray in this dance drama.” She thanked her students, parents, volunteers and well-wishers.