22 January 2016

And Quiet Flows the River: Students use Dance and Song to Advocate for Environmental Change

The Cooum River in India originates in a village about 40 miles north of Chennai.  It’s a slow moving river that meanders through towns, passing ancient temples, before eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.   About ten miles into its journey it reaches the city of Chennai, the fifth largest city in India and home to more than eight million people. This is where the trouble begins for the river and the residents who depend on it for their lives and their livelihoods. 

While the Cooum used to be considered a sacred waterway, even more holy than the better known Ganges River, today it is polluted with untreated sewage, industrial contaminants and agricultural runoff. 

To call attention to the state of the river and encourage local government and civil society to clean it up, students from Sanchala School of Bharata Natyam in Chennai will give a multi-media presentation entitled "And Quiet Flows the River" on 28 February 2016 at the T.A.G Auditorium in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kilpauk.  They will use song, dance and multimedia presentations to explore how the river used to be and encourage the community to help restore it to its former glory so that people can enjoy its waters once again.   

Fifty students will participate in the 90 minute presentation and audiences will be treated to performances of Bharata Natyam (Southern Indian dance style) and Carnatic music (South Indian style of classical music).  Artists came together to create the works that will be performed with Ranthini Aravin composing the musical scores, Roshni Ganesh and Sri Desikan writing the lyrics and Radhika Kalyani conceptualizing and choreographing the dances.