Tagore's Mother Earth from Tony Gaston on Vimeo.
Visuals by Tony and Anne-Marie Gaston (Canada, India, Himalayas, Bhutan, Hawaii, Scotland, Haida Gwaii)
Choreography: Anjali; Voice: Tony Gaston
Presented at International Conference on Biodiversity, New Delhi, 1998
Review of Anjali's recital at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi
December 16, 2002
Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India considered it a privilege to host Anjali- Dr. Anne-Marie
Gaston's concert "In Praise of Wilderness - Dancing Kyoto" on 16th December 2002 in its
prestigious HCL Concert Series.
Dr. Gaston's determination to stay faithful to the canons of Indian Classical Dance, the seriousness of her scholarship and her commitment to the cause of the environment, has always impressed those who have become familiar with her work.
Drawing on long and rich years of a nurturing partnership with husband, Naturalist Environmentalist and Conservationist, Dr. Tony Gaston, Anjali's thematic, work reveals maturity of thought and retains cogency of communication.
It uses an age-old language, accompanying it with powerful electronic visuals, to create a contemplative climate, and creates a work of art, relevant to our times and trials.
Any sensitive, thinking and concerned forum would benefit, in stature and impact, to showcase this important work, that straddles the beauty of dance and nature, while making a plea for caution.
Habitat Centre, New Delhi
PRAYER to Mother Earth
Set to a poem by Rabindranath Tagore: "Accept my homage Earth".
Music: K.N. Dakshinamurthy (nattuvangam), Bejanki Krishnan (Kanjira); O.S. Arun (vocal); Raghu (flute)
Longfellow's poem tells of the young Hiawatha's introduction to the forest.
CHIEF SEATTLE'S MESSAGE
Music: Carl Schultz; K.N. Dakshinamurthy (nattuvangam), Bejanki (Kanjira); O.S. Arun (vocal)
Attributed to the 19th century North American Indian Chief Seattle, this prophetic oration defines the agony of a people confronted by the destruction of their land.
Music: O.S. Shridhar; K.J. Govindarajan; Igor Stravinsky
More than 3000 years ago, the authors of the Rg Veda described the forest, addressing it as a lady, possessing beauty, fragility and savage power.
A WORLD'S LAMENT
Poem: Tony Gaston; Music: Behera (flute);
A short history of planet earth since the origin of modern man
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
Text: St. John of the Cross; Music: Loreena McKennit (by permission)
Based on the writings of an early Christian mystic, the trials and triumphs of the soul in search of God are described.
Music: J.S. Bach, Sonata for flute
Although we may regret change, the world is still wonderful : this is a celebration
GANGA (developed with the assistance of Laidlaw Foundation)
Soundscape: David Bignell
The land is gripped by drought. The crops have failed and water is needed to immerse the ashes of the dead. King Bhagiratha performs an ancient ritual to placate the Guardians of the Quarters. His plea is ignored and the drought intensifies. Desperate, he decides to undertake the terrible ordeal of the five fires. Surrounding himself with blazing bonfires, he endures the fierce heat of the midday sun. He pours oil on the flames and the heat rises.
The Gods relent, the heavens open, and Ganga is released from her home in the milky way. The force of her cascade is so great that the earth is in danger of being swept away. The celestials request the god Siva to receive Ganga in his hair so that only a single drop reaches the earth. From that one drop, emerging from Siva's matted locks and starting high in the Himalayas, grows the great river Ganga, that finally merges with the sea. The story can be seen as an allegory for the importance of water in sustaining life, beauty and joy.
Music: (by permission) Debbie Danbrooke, Paul Vaillancourt, Baobab Youth Orchestra (Ottawa), traditional Tibetan chants recorded in Bhutan by Tony Gaston. Outside Eye: Patricia Beatty
Raindragon was inspired by a Japanese story that tells how the Raindragon, offended by lack of respect it received, withdrew its life-giving rain.
It begins, in the world of the elements, with Mother Earth still cherishing the deep springs of water within her. She describes the death of nature: "can you see, the leaves have withered, the flowers have fallen? Can you hear, my skin cracks? I am so thirsty." In the face of drought, she sheds her green mantle.
In the world of the senses, a woman dreams that she has been chosen to intercede on behalf of humanity. Through her dance, and through her devotion, she touches the Raindragon. Her offering moves the dragon to tears and the earth's mantle is revived. Implicit in the dance is our need to respect the earth, our bodies and dance itself.