ODC Theater opens its 2013 season with the Bay Area premiere of Sheetal Gandhi's magnetically rhythmic Bahu-Beti-Biwi. A solo tour de force combining dance, stirring vocalization, and percussive text, Bahu-Beti-Biwi wraps North Indian music traditions and family characters into a contemporary exploration that glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance.
Sheetal Gandhi's career has taken her from Cirque du Soleil's Dralion to a leading role in the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams. In Bahu-Beti-Biwi she demonstrates her talent as director, choreographer, and performer. Using a hybrid movement vocabulary influenced by Kathak, Modern, and West African dance, in addition to singing and theatrical staging, Gandhi presents a powerful commentary on the social world in which we live.
In Bahu-Beti-Biwi the collective narratives of daughter-in-law, daughter, and wife weave a poignant tapestry. Gandhi transitions from one character to the next: a pop-locking bird transforms into an endearing auntie, the whining of an Indian-American teenager yields to the slippery melody of a North Indian raga. In all, Gandhi brings to life nine interconnected characters, each in her own way forced to make certain sacrifices.
"The making of Bahu-Beti-Biwi was an exhilarating experience," says Gandhi. "There are times when we might feel like everything is conspiring to make one moment, and for me this show is it. It draws on my entire lifetime of experiences and artistic training, and the reaction I get from audiences has been profound. I feel like Bahu-Beti-Biwi touches on a fundamental truth that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from can understand."
"Bahu-Beti-Biwi is a deeply human work," says ODC Theater Director Christy Bolingbroke. "Gandhi brings intelligence, compassion, and humor to bear in the portrayal of multiple points of view. Members of the audience are sure to be affected by Gandhi's characters and impressed by the technical rigor with which she embodies them."
On April 17 and 19, 2013 from 10am - 12pm Gandhi will teach an intermediate/advanced level Contemporary Kathak dance class at ODC Dance Commons. The class combines modern and contemporary dance techniques with the complex, precise rhythms of the North Indian classical dance form, Kathak. Admission is $14 per class, which includes a $5 discount off any one performance of Bahu-Beti-Biwi. For more information, visit www.odcdance.org/event_view.php?param=433.