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5* MARA The Mastermind Behind it All – World Premiere at Ford Amphitheatre 9/21

Written By: Marcelle

Mara hovering alapadmas[2]Jeeva Malini Mara alapadmas[2]DSCN1973DSCN1957Mara MP face fingers spread horizontal green tint[2]*****  Star Rating given to:

MARA The Mastermind Behind it All – Stunning and beautiful dance performance under the stars at The Ford Ampitheater.

MARA , a multi-media dance and musical theatre production featured a cast of 35 dancers and musicians, took place at the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at 8:00pm.

The Dynamic choreography by Bharata Natyam dancer Mythili Prakash seamlessly blends with the haunting melodies of classical South Indian music, jazz, and funk by the 12-member Aditya Prakash Ensemble, to create the ethereal world of MARA, the masterMIND behind it all. The production featured Visual Projection by Kate Johnson and Light Design by Eileen Cooley.

Mythili and Aditya Prakash, the brother-sister duo, have created and conceived this production from the ground up – written an original script, musical score, and created choreography, direction, costumes and multi-media projection. Inspired by the demonic character Mara, from Buddhist lore, this original production is a journey through the human mind, in a dramatic story of perception, transformation, and self-discovery.

MARA brings together the depth of Eastern Philsophy, aesthetics of Indian classical arts, and dynamism of Western Stagecraft and music in this excitingly unique project. This is a significant step for the recognition of Indian classical arts to be featured for the first time in the main season of the 1200-seater Ford Amphitheatre, and be experienced by the diverse audiences of Los Angeles. On a deeper level, MARA carries a message that’s relevance traverses boundaries of culture and age and communicative charm. The coordination of separate body parts is exquisite — notably in tautly rhythmic phrases different ways. Mara  has stillness and repose.


Mythili Prakash is recognized as one of the world’s leading young exponents of Bharata Natyam – the classical dance of South India. Hailed a child prodigy, Mythili began her performance career at the age of eight.

Now in her early thirties, she has toured worldwide, gaining critical acclaim for her full length solo performances at prestigious venues such as Esplanade Theatres (Singapore), The Lowry (United Kingdom), Musee Guimet (Paris), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Edinburgh) Chihuahua International Festival (Mexico), The Music Academy (India), Chicago World Festival (Chicago), to name a few.

Her classical, yet inventive approach to Bharata Natyam and revitalizes the physicality, musicality and expressive theatricality of the dance to create an exceptional style that is distinct and meaningful to audiences across the world.

Mythili’s command of the art form is evident whether you are an aficionado or new to Indian classical dance. The elegant and sculpted chiseled lines of her dance is an irrepressible force of precision and dynamism. Her magnetism on stage and her choreography, both in the vibrant, rhythmic athleticism of the form, and the sensitive, nuanced expressive element of the form, are compelling. Mythili uses traditional repertoire while extending the technique to create new structures connecting her extraordinarily rich and intense style with a sharp contemporary intellect.

While highly acclaimed for her technical and virtuosic skill as a performer, Mythili stays deeply rooted in the inherent spirituality of the art form, which is the driving inspiration of both her choreographic explorations and her own practice. It is this, that she believes fuels her artistic and personal journey.

Mythili has toured her work internationally throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She began her training in the Thanjavur tradition of Bharata Natyam at the age of four under the tutelage of her mother, Smt. Viji Prakash – a virtuoso of this dance form and disciple of grand masters Guru Kalyanasundaram and Guru Mahalingam Pillai, directors of the Sri Raja Rajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir, Bombay, India.

Lead Vocalist and composer, Aditya Prakash, known for his powerful and emotive voice, has performed and toured extensively with artists such as Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale and Salim Merchant, performing at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall and Hollywood Bowl to name a few.

In 2010, Aditya founded the Aditya Prakash Ensemble, the Los Angeles based music group made up of some of the most exciting jazz and Indian classical instrumentalists in the city, eager to share their love of both these traditions.

Through the common language of improvisation, as well as original compositions that draw from Indian Ragas and complex rhythms, and Jazz’s rich harmonic structure with the influence of hip-hop and funk, the group seeks to move beyond the intermingling of styles and tradition, into a space of inner intuition and expression. Aditya Prakash Ensemble launched their first album “The Hidden” in 2012 and they have made numerous appearances throughout Los Angeles. The group consists of
Aditya Prakash- Vocals, Julian Le- Piano, Owen Clapp- Bass, Jake Jamieson- Drums, Hitomi Oba- Tenor, Saxophone, Mark Einhorn- Alto Saxophone, Jonah Levine- Trombone, Mic Holden- Percussion, Shiva Ramamurthi- Violin, Fabiano do Nascimento- Guitar. Guest Artists for the production are Mahesh Swamy- Flute, Morsing and Sheejith Krishna- Mridangam, Tabla, Percussion.

Established in 1981 by director/dancer/teacher/choreographer Viji Prakash in Los Angeles, CA, theShakti Dance Company is the performing division of the Shakti School of Bharata Natyam, known for its rigorous training and excellence of standards.

Shakti is dedicated to the practice and sharing of Bharata Natyam, a richly textured classical art forms that is the fabric of Indian culture with its seamless combination of dance, music, theatricality, poetry, and sculpture. Considered a form of yoga, this art form has the profound ability to transform and transport both artist and audience.


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