Nandanik Dance Troupe

Chitrangada - In Quest of Truth

Raja - King of the Dark Chamber

Nandanik Dance Troupe presented Raja - King of the Dark Chamber on Saturday, April 19, 2008 at the Richard E. Rauh Theater, Shady Side Academy, 423 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.

Raja - King of the Dark Chamber is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s play Shapmochan (The Redemption). Adapted from a story in the Buddhist mythology, Kush Jataka, Tagore, has skillfully created an enchanting world of eternal love, a story of passion and inner conflicts, of hopes and dreams, of curses and redemptions, and of estrangements and unions.

The music for Raja - King of the Dark Chamber was produced and recorded in India under the direction of Rahul Chattopadhyay, famous for his arrangements in several movies, concerts, and record industry. The songs were directed by Pramita Mullick, an eminent Rabindra Sangeet Singer, and Agnibho Bandopadhyay, a very popular Rabindra Sangeet artist from Kolkata. A variety of traditional Indian instruments such as Sitar, Sarod, Flute, Esraj, Tabla, Khol, Pakhawaj, Ghatam, Mridangam, and guitar has enriched the musical score.

The dances in the drama have been choreographed in Bharatanatyam and Manipuri (two of the classical dance forms of India) and Chhau (a regional folk dance style) by Nandini Mandal.

In celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Nandanik Dance Troupe presented “Card Country”, one of his most entertaining dance dramas based on the play “Tasher Desh” on April 21, 2012.

A prince and his friend find themselves on a strange island after they are shipwrecked. The inhabitants of this land, various playing cards, have strange manners: they follow a set of rules, are disciplined in a strict system and are extremely cautious about maintaining their culture. The lack of freedom of expression drives the prince to bring about changes in the lives of the enslaved cards. Will he succeed?

William Radice, who translated “Tasher Desh” from Bengali to English, describes it as “Card Country upbraids those who live a blinkered existence and urges the world to openly nurture a joyous, youthful and imaginative life.”

This enchanting dance drama was presented in English as translated by William Radice.  The song lyrics are in the original Bengali language by Rabindranath Tagore. The music direction is by Pramita Mullick. The dance drama is directed by Nandini Mandal,  and choreographed by Nandini Mandal and Sanjib Bhattacharya.

Card Country

Nandanik Dance Troupe presented  Rabindranath Tagore's "Chitrangada"-In Quest of Truth, a ballet on April 22, 2006 at Marshall Middle School, Wexford, PA, and again in excerpts at the S.V. Temple, Monroeville PA in November 2011.

Composed in the 1930s by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Chitrangada is the story of a warrior princess who falls in love with Arjuna, the gallant prince of Mahabharata. Arjuna rejects her because of her valiant but non-effeminate qualities. Chitrangada, who has been the epitome of strength and valor all her life, is suddenly awakened to the reality that a woman physical appeal and feminine charm may be more desirable to even the greatest of heroes. In her quest for Arjuna's love, she seeks the intervention of Madana (Cupid, the God of love), who transforms her into a beautiful woman. Chitrangada overwhelms Arjuna with her newly found charm.

But his mesmerized acceptance dampens her spirit as he has chosen Maya, illusion and temptation, over heroism, sincerity, and truth. Eventually, the hero in Arjuna awakens. A time comes when he overcomes her superficial appeals and seeks redemption from it all. He is touched by the noble princess Chitrangada who is both a mother and a noble ruler of her citizens. Realizing that Truth has shattered the realm of Maya, Chitrangada relinquishes her physical charm to reveal her real self. Their union is marked by sublime glory, true love, and mutual respect.
The music of Chitrangada was specially produced and recorded for Nandanik, under the direction of the Late Shreemati Roma Mondal, a renowned exponent of Rabindra Sangeet. A variety of traditional Indian instruments, such as Sitar, Sarod, Flute, Esraj, Tabla, Pakhawaj, Ghatam, Mridangam, etc., has enriched the musical score. The dances have been choreographed in Bharatanatyam style by Nandini Mandal.