Welcome to KDT’s 32nd Season!

Shaamya – Of Equality: January 5, 2020

J.D. Steele. Photo by John Wagner.

Of equality I sing:
Where all barriers and differences
Among people are vanished,
Where Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians
Have mingled together.
– An excerpt from Kazi Nazrul Islam’s “Of Equality”

Inspired by the poem “Of Equality” written by Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899 – 1976), Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) is excited to announce a new thematic dance presentation: Shaamya – Of Equality.

Of Equality infuses gospel and R&B music composed and performed by local musician and composer J.D. Steele (pictured) and poetry by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour into original Kathak choreography based on Islam’s poem. Steele, an accomplished musician who has performed with Prince, Mavis Staples, and others, will be accompanied by pianist Billy Steele, drum artist Abhinav Sharma, vocalist Tonya Hughes. Mansour is perhaps best known for her acclaimed play How to Have Fun in a Civil War, which depicts her recollections of her childhood in war-torn Somalia. With this new work, our intent is to engage people of all cultures in valuable discussions about parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those expressed by Nazrul in his time.

Select KDT dancers will perform a work-in-progress version of Of Equality at The Southern Theater on January 5, 2020. Remember that this is just a preview of what’s to come; the full production is set to debut at St. Paul’s Park Square Theatre next November with four performances, including a student-only matinee.
WHAT: Shaamya – Of Equality: Work-in-Progress Performance
WHEN: January 5 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55454
RUNTIME: 40 minutes + 20 minute post-show discussion
TICKETS: $10 or pay what you can. Available through the Southern at a date TBA.
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Black Candle Revival: May 8-10, 2020

Photo by Erik Saulitis.

Next May, KDT plans to revive one of its more timely and relevant works: Black Candle. This production depicts the everyday lives of South Asian women of the past and present. In conveying their tragedies and triumphs, Black Candle illustrates women’s strength and tenacity in the face of institutionalized sexism and other forms of oppression. Based on the award-winning poetry of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, KDT originally presented Black Candle at the Ritz Theatre in 2006, and we are excited to reimagine this work for the Cowles Center in the midst of today’s tumultuous political climate.

WHAT: Black Candle
WHEN: May 8-10, 2020
WHERE: The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403
RUNTIME: 75 minutes
TICKETS: Price TBA
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Local Tours: February and May, 2020

Photo by Erik Saulitis.

KDT will travel to Mankato and St. Cloud next year to perform Ritu – The Seasons and engage in community outreach activities. Ritu, which originally debuted in 2018, is a vivid portrayal of the Indian seasonal cycle, expanding and subverting American expectations. Based on the lyrical poem “Ritusamhara” by the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, Ritu depicts the six Indian seasons within beautiful and intricate Kathak movement, celebrating nature’s beauty through Kathak’s grace and subtlety. As always, our touring performances are open to the public. Please mark the following dates in your calendar, noting that ticket prices and showtimes are yet to be announced.

  • February 12: Minnesota State University – Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium
  • May 22: St. Cloud’s Paramount Center for the Arts