Aawara, la Vagabonda

Aawara, la Vagabonda draws upon the life and classic works of the controversial French author Colette. Classical kathak, contemporary movement, text, and songs probe the complexities of longing, loneliness, desire, and the need for independence and freedom. The first section of the piece juxtaposes the conflict between a woman’s desires for love, intimacy, and social status, as well as solitude, independence, and freedom. Excerpts from Colette’s La Vagabonde form the textual core of the dialogue between the protagonist and her unseen female confidante. The protagonist in Colette’s novel is in essence a French courtesan, and the courtesan is a classic motif in kathak dance. The music is based in classical Hindustani ragas bookended by Hindustani folk songs. The piece is set in a rhythm cycle of 13 (Jaitaal) for its simultaneously lyrical and discomfiting quality. Original music created for the piece includes parts for piano, sarode, violin, vocals, and tabla.

Aawara, la Vagabonda hopes to inspire women to value their original and inherent worth regardless of age or relationship/marital status, and to nurture their intellectual and creative pursuits. The protagonist is an amalgamation of revolutionary heroines such as Colette, Amelia Earhart, Umrao Jaan, Edith Piaf, and Arundhati Roy. Though their life histories include romance, their fulfillment lay in the cultivation of their talents.  Women often abdicate this freedom at great expense to their human potential.  Aawara explores how we negotiate the spectrum between freedom and security and exalts another option. Stay tuned for sections two and three. Auditions for a male dancer for the duet in section two are currently in progress. Please feel free to make referrals. We’re also looking for funding to support the development and production of the remainder of the piece. Please subscribe to the newsletter to remain informed of upcoming events.

The performers:
Jaysi – Choreographer & Kathaka/Storyteller
Ben Kunin – Sarode and Guitar
Aharon Wheels Bolsta – Tabla
Swami Iyer – Keyboard and Vocals
Leslie Schneider – Vocals