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The 2019 edition of Rasa -- Akshara's annual multi-arts, inspired by India festival -- hits the home stretch

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 12:45pm by christopherporter

Akshara dancers

The fall 2019 edition of Akshara's Rasa Festival is coming to a close, but not before it celebrates with four "multi-arts, inspired by India" events.

"Dances of India: classical and folk traditions" happens Thursday, September 19, at 7 pm, at AADL's downtown location. It will feature classical and folk dances from India, plus a discussion on the historical and cultural context of each.

The following night at 7 pm will be "Music from the East and the West," also at AADL's downtown branch. Indian and western musicians will talk about the concepts behind Indian and western music, and how they collaborate to create new music. This will be accompanied by a short concert.

The largest event of the festival is "Rasa Performing Arts Weekend: dance|music, east|west, classical|folk" on Saturday, September 21, 4 pm, at Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College. This is an evening of classical and folk dances from India as well as a concert that brings together Indian and western music traditions.

For "Rasa Performing Arts Weekend," Sreyashi Dey will present the Ann Arbor premiere of her solo dance-theater work “Hidimba.” The students of Dey (Odissi) and Sandhya Sree Athmakuri (Kuchipudi) will perform “Dasavatar,” a collaborative classical dance piece in Odissi and Kuchipudi dance styles. An east-west concert follows and it features a blend of Indian classical music, jazz/improv, and percussion by U-M faculty member Stephen Rush, Payton MacDonald, Dan Piccolo, and friends. The night closes with a journey through India with ritual and folk dance traditions, featuring dances from Bengal (dhunuchi and other folk), Maharashtra (Laavni), Bihu (Assam), and ritual dances from Kerala.

The Rasa Festival wraps on Tuesday, September 24, 7 pm, back at AADL's downtown location with "India Travel Diary," an illustrated talk with photographs of three students' journey through India.

The events at AADL are free. Tickets for "Rasa Performing Arts Weekend are available through a2tix.

For more information, visit