Kumbi Kathawa (An Ant’s Tale)

Just got back from seeing it at Bishop’s College Auditorium. This is not a review as I lack the hard eye of a critic. Just a plea to catch it when ever its alive on stage. There are more details about the ballet on the web which I won’t bore you by regurgitating.

This evening’s performance was a treat for the eye and ear. The colour of the costumes and the lighting themselves have enough to gush about as I’m not skilled with words to praise the yogic grace of the dancers. The duration of the performance was about – perhaps just over – an hour (I wasn’t looking at the clock). For those who might think that’s short I might point out that precious moments of sound and movement cannot be valued in quantity.

A particularly interesting feature tonight was the short documentary about the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya screened before the actual performance. The Kalayathanaya’s nomadic history till it found a home has distinct parallels to the story of Kumbi Kathawa. Which I thought made the story of the ballet all the more meaningful. It certainly was a loving tribute by pupils to their guru.

Mrs Cerno correctly thinks (and I agree with her on this) that the documentary could have been screened separately from the actual performance – perhaps in the lobby. Perhaps it was added to placate tight fisted types who might complain about duration of the show. Yes yes I’m nit picking. Have to nit pick something or I’ll sound too fawning.

The video added a touch of hard reality and context to the performance. By demonstrating that amidst maintaining excellence in its art, the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya has to fight for its financial survival like any other artistic life form in a 3rd world country.


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