Lights for Gita is a delightful story celebrating Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Through the story of young Gita, who has immigrated to cold and wintery Canada from the tropical warmth of India, we discover what it means to dispel darkness and find true light within each of us and how we can make new homes in unknown countries, integrating meaningful customs from our heritage in celebration of diversity.


This performance is based on the book, Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore, illustrated by Alice Priestly and published by Second Story Press. It has been adapted with original music and illustration for the Red Curtain Project.


Thresh and The Red Curtain Project are proud to partner with Second Story Press an independent Canada-based publisher dedicated to publishing feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers.



In the video above you see Preeti use a mixed bag of facial expressions and hand gestures ("mudras").

Now let's break this down: you'll find a series of short video clips below, in which Preeti demonstrates each gesture and the facial expressions she's chosen to use.


For each one, she includes the name in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) and some further examples and applications.

"Mudras" (hand gestures) & body positions

First we'll look at hand gestures and body positions.


Every culture uses its hands for expression. Preeti grew up learning Indian classical dance (bharatanatyam) in South India where gestures are classified in minute detail. Each gesture has specific meanings and applications. And lower body positions are...

Be sure to scroll / swipe through all the videos (there are three in total).


Facial expressions & Emotion

In Indian dance and theatre, the face is a key tool for communicating emotion—Indian dancers and actors train for years to perfect their control of their facial muscles!


There are many techniques to isolate the movements of the face, which are classified as "bheda" (BAY-dah). Indian classical performer uses these in combination to create an emotional mood under what is called "saatvika abhinaya" (SAAT-vika ab-in-EYE-a).


In particular, watch these short demo videos to see how Preeti manipulates different aspects of facial expression (eyes, lips, eyebrows etc.) to create the emotional effect.

Be sure to look at all the videos (there are four in total).



Preeti breaks down the performance

There's a lot going on in Indian classical dance, even in a short sequence such as this. In the video below Preeti talks you through how she's using the classical gestural vocabulary to tell the story. Remember: If you have questions for Preeti send them to



Think you're an expert? Try this quiz!

The RED CURTAIN Drawing Challenge!

For our special edition on Diwali, the festival of lights, we'd love you to create a drawing inspired by Gita and the celebration of lights in our world. Share with us how you celebarte festivals from your cultures in which you light lamps or candles (or trees!).


Show us how lighting lamps can bring people of all backgrounds together in joy and celebration. Your drawings and ideas will help make others imagine and create a joyful and harmonious world!


Send your drawings to us at We'll publish as many as we can on this site! (And you can see some great drawings we've received so far from kids around the world by clicking here!)

The Festival of Lights around the world

Swipe or scroll through these images relating to the Hindu festival of Diwali, and other Festivals of Lights from cultures and countries around the world.



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Harsha Biswajit


Chennai, India

Harsha Biswajit currently lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. His work explores transformations brought about by technology by creating anti-environments to reveal the true nature of the environment we live in. Working with a diverse range of media—from drawings, to digital photography, video and sculpture, he often infuses them together in search of a balance between the old and new, natural and digital.


Taking references from philosophy, literature, economics and politics, his works weave around issues of dualities between humans and nature, ecology, and time. He is also the co-founder and creative director of SPACE BISKIT, a multidisciplinary art and design studio established in 2017. To find out more about Harsha and his work visit /

Charu Suri


India & New York (USA)

Charu Suri is a South Indian born pianist who became the first Indian American jazz composer to premiere an evening of work at Carnegie Hall, in Dec. 2019. She has released three albums so far, including a new blend of a jazz trio fusing Indian ragas and Sufi sounds.


Charu recently became a voting member of the GRAMMYs and is planning to release two new albums this year. Follow her on @CharuSuriMusic (Instagram) and @CharuSuriTrio (Facebook).



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We loved collaborating with online learning experts Learn Interactive on this project. 


If you're an artist or an arts organization looking to create online learning content in these challenging times, contact Learn Interactive who'll be delighted to discuss your project!

eShe is an independent women’s magazine and blog based in India and Canada that amplifies women's voices and stories highlighting our shared humanity.


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