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Refugee Ragas


Choreography and Performance: Aparna Sindhoor
Direction and Percussion: Raju Sivasankaran

A solo dance performed by Aparna Sindhoor, Refugee Ragas, explores the ravages of war from the experiences and perspective of women refugees. The Choreography using Bharatanatyam evokes images of women’s work as, farmers, house keepers, laborers, mothers etc moving on to the emotions of sorrow, displacement and anger through a 16th century Kannada folk song interweaved with a poem by Mahmoud Darwish and a songs by Indian Ocean and Lila Downs.

Aparna Sindhoor, a Choreographer and dancer and teacher has garnered international acclaim for bringing traditional Indian dance forms together with contemporary themes. She has performed widely in India, Germany and in North America. Sindhoor is the Artistic Director of Navarasa Dance Theater.

Raju Sivasankaran is the writer/director/producer of critically acclaimed dance theater works such as River Rites and Agua-Thanneer-Water and he is one of the founding members of the Navarasa Dance Theater and has directed and produced his first film, State of the Art. Three of plays have won the James Baldwin Playwright Award. His poems have been published in the Blue Collar Review.

This song is a conversation between a mother and her daughter.

“The army has come Mother. The army has come.
I want to go see the camps oh Mother. I want see.
You are too little to go.
Don’t go out of the house now.
As I was saying that to her she ran out and
went to the roof top and looked down at the army camps.
Her beauty shone brightly on the tents.
The army chief looked at her and ordered his men to get the girl.
They came and grabbed her and took her away.
The beautiful daughter of twelve years was taken away
oh taken away.
The beautiful hair of twelve years was taken away
oh taken away.”

§ Kya Maloom (Hindi song by Sanjeev Sharma, sung by Indian Ocean)

For the Gods war maybe just a game. But for us humans it is not. The sheer futility of war, the conflict, the suffering and the consequences are unbearable.