Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Dance intertwined; Sisters to perform original take on Hindu epic

Sisters to perform original take on Hindu epic


The Andover Townsman

---- — Sisters Gowri and Nandini Vijayakumar, who have been perfecting the art of Indian classical dance since they were young girls, will showcase their talents in their originally choreographed drama “Ashokavana” on Saturday, July 27, at the Chinmaya Maruti Center in Andover.

The sisters’ piece uses dance to tell stories from the Ramayana, a well-known Hindu epic.

In the stories, when Sita, daughter of the Earth, and Hanuman, son of the Wind, meet in Ashokavana, they inspire deep reflections on devotion, faith, determination and love. The young women interpret this famous scene through the poetry of Kuvempu, one of Kannada’s best-loved poets, in his award-winning piece, “Sri Ramayana Darshanam.”

Gowri and Nandini Vijayakumar grew up in Andover and began learning Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, in the early 1990s. When their teacher, Poornima Gururaja, moved from Andover to India in 1999, they continued learning from her during their visits to India.

In addition, Gowri Vijayakumar has studied with Katherine Kunhiraman in Berkeley, Calif., and Nandini Vijayakumar has studied with Aparna Sindhoor in Somerville.

While the sisters have participated in dance productions in the past, this is the first time they have been involved in the choreography process. They say they are excited to be able to perform together for this show.

When they are not dancing, Gowri Vijayakumar is a candidate for her doctorate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Nandini Vijayakumar is a third-year medical student at the University of New England in Maine.

Their free performance on Saturday starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs about 90 minutes; refreshments will follow. The Chinmaya Maruti Center is at 1 Union St. in Andover.