Lights for Gita
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.
The Storyteller's Toolkit
The techniques an Indian classical dancer uses to create an emotional mood are grouped under the term "saatvika abhinaya" (SAAT-vika ab-in-EYE-a). In particular, the face is a key tool for communicating emotion—Indian dancers train for years to perfect these expressions!
Watch how Preeti manipulates different aspects of facial expression (eyes, lips, eyebrows) to create the emotional effect.
(Note: These videos do not have voiceover/subtitles.)
Every culture uses its hand gestures for expression: in bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) these gestures are classified in minute detail. Each gesture has specific meanings and applications. Each video includes the name of different facial expressions, or "saatvika abhinaya," and hand gestures, or "mudras" in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) along with examples and applications.
Commentary & Analysis
In the videos below, Preeti demonstrates how she uses the classical gestural vocabulary of Indian dance to tell Gita's story.
The Red Curtain Drawing Challenge
We challenge you to create a drawing inspired by Gita and the celebration of lights in our world. 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 us your drawings at firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll see them here on the site.
The Festivals of Lights around the world
Learn more about the Hindu Festival of Diwali, and the other Festivals of Lights that take place in countries around the world.
Meet Our Global Collaborators
Harsha Biswajit, Illustrator
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.
Charu Suri, Composer
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.
Learn Interactive partnered with RCP on Lights for Gita. They deliver industry-leading manager development programs focused on key transitions in any individual's career.
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.