Shining spotlight on lesser-known stories

Dance-drama Yashodhara: An Unsung Heroine brings alive snippets from the life of the Indian princess 
In frame: Aparna Menon
In frame: Aparna Menon

From the list of unsung heroes in India, it was the story of Indian princess Yashodhara that fascinated dancer Aparna Menon to explore more about her in her upcoming dance-drama Yashodhara: An Unsung Heroine. The dance-drama is based on Yashodhara, a young princess who decides to marry Siddhartha, a prince who is predicted to be a wandering monk. How she transforms herself according to his vision makes for the crux of this story.

The dance production is an attempt to shed light on other heroines in history. “I feel great characters like Sita and Draupadi have been explored a lot. There was so much more to explore about Yashodhara apart from her being Gautama Buddha’s wife.

For example, in one of the stories, we are showing she’s coming with a flower garland towards Siddhartha which he refuses to wear because it’s made of fallen flowers. She says the reason she used these fallen flowers in the garland is because it gives them a new purpose. There is nobody called downtrodden in this,” explained Menon, adding that Yashodhara was as wise as her husband.

The show is ticketed, the reason being that the proceeds collected from the show will be going to the artistes. “During Covid, I saw the problems that many artistes went through. No system supported them to survive. So, the amount we collect is going to support them,” says Menon, adding, “There is a book on Yashodhara which I followed for the research on her. I took two episodes from the book which was about pain and suffering. I thought that was relatable to the Covid times.”

The play is also a celebration of 15 years of Menon’s dance institute Tharang Academy of Arts. “I had done a solo performance of this show for an international dance festival last year. This time the group size is 43, which includes myself. This dance-drama took one year in the making. Since I have dancers from different age groups, it took long to come through, but I am looking forward to how it’s going to be,” says Menon. 

X: @indulgexpress

Related Stories

No stories found.