The San Jose, Calif.-based Abhinaya Dance Company’s 2016 fall production, “Vaanara Leela – Monkeys in the Ramayana,” was declared the winner of the ‘Outstanding Achievement for Performance – Company’ award at the 32nd annual Isadora Duncan Dance Awards held March 26 in San Francisco, Calif.
The concert portrays the extraordinary role of Hanuman, the monkey warrior-god, and his monkey army in the ancient Indian epic, ‘Ramayana.’ They assist prince Rama in his mission to destroy the evil ten-headed demon Ravana and rescue his kidnapped wife Sita.
The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, known locally as the Izzies, are awarded annually to acknowledge exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. Awards are given in nine categories to honor the dancers, choreographers, designers, composers, dance companies, dance scholars and other individuals who have made important contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving dance community.
During each 12-month performance cycle, running Sept.1-Aug. 31, the volunteer Izzies Committee collectively views over 400 eligible performances. The final nominees and honorees are selected at an annual voting meeting held in September after the close of the viewing cycle.
Mythili Kumar and Rasika Kumar were the artistic directors of the production while the concept and choreography were developed by Mythili Kumar, Rasika Kumar, Malavika Walia and Anjana Dasu. The music composition and direction was by Asha Ramesh.
The dancers who performed in “Vaanara Leela – Monkeys in the Ramayana” included Malavika Walia, Anjana Dasu, Sindhu Natarajan, Kalamandalam Supriya Sudhakar, Pooja Sohoni, Shachi Kumar, Goonja Shah, Santosh Sivakumar, Ananya Subramanian, Amrita Rajan, Samira Sriram, Abinaya Srikant, Pooja Akella, Shreya Ganapathy, Nyna Velamuri, Sinja Sanandan and Isha Adhvaryu.
The Abhinaya Dance Company was founded in 1980 by its Indian American artistic director Mythili Kumar.