Normally Bharata Natyam, a classical Indian dance form, occurs as a solo performance marked by lively facial expressions, precise gestures and rhythmic footwork. Hema Rajagopalan, founder of Natya, puts the form in an epic context in this full-scale theatrical production for twenty dancers. Rajagopalan worked with a handful of collaborators to develop the concept, her first time doing so. “You have to let go of your ego,” Rajagopalan says of the collaborative experience. Partners in the project included a stage director, composer and story consultant. The plot comes from a South Indian folktale about a young woman with the ability to transform herself into a tree that sheds valuable blossoms. The plot thickens when a prince who sweeps her off her feet discovers her gift. The music is provided by Rajkumar Bharathi, who blends jazz and Japanese and African drumming in his original score. Live narration makes the performance kid-friendly with a message for all: “It’s about preserving the earth, making sure that we have all the resources for the next generation,” Rajagopalan said. “It’s an important educational value: an awareness that all living things are interconnected.” (Sharon Hoyer)
Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph, (312)334-7777. October 8 at 7:30pm. $24-$50.