Three Friends

In Three Friends, an antelope is captured by a determined hunter. But the hunter did not bargain for the quick wits of the antelope's animal friends.

The Storyteller's Toolkit

In the video above, Preetis different facial expressions, or "saatvika abhinaya," and hand gestures, or "mudras." Each video includes the name in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) along with examples and applications.

Kurmam (tortise)

Mrgasirsham (animal head)

Taamrachoodarn (cocks comb)

First we'll look at the mudras. 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.

Bhayaanakam (fear)

Haasyam (laughter)

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.)

 

Commentary & Analysis

In the video below Preeti demonstrates how she uses the classical gestural vocabulary of Indian dance to tell the story.

What are the new gestures in this story?

A gesture to represent an antelope's hoofprints AND a computer?

How do you make a tortise out of two hands?

 
 

Ask Preeti

RCP Challenge!

Now it's your turn—we challenge you to create a story about friendship! In times of need, friends can help us overcome obstacles (just like in Three Friends).

 

The story could be from your imagination OR a story from your own culture. The only rules are that you MUST:

  • Use the MRGASIRSHAM ("animal head") gesture at least once

  • Use either (or both) facial expression BHAYAANAKAM (fear)

(Extra points if you manage to include a red curtain somewhere in the video!)

Send your videos (via a link to YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram or equivalent) to info@threshdance.org. We'll publish as many as we can on this site!

Hares around the world!

Now that you've seen the tortoise in this Indian story, as one of the Three Friends, let's see how other cultures express their creativity representing this slow and well-defended creature in their own stories and legends.

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Global Collaborators

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Mal Stein, Composer
New York City

Mal is a much sought-after collaborator for choreographers around the world both as a percussionist and composer. In this video, he talks through his creative process—how he came up with themes and textures to support Preeti's storytelling.

Mal lives in the East Village of Manhattan with his partner Judy and a large collection of percussion instruments from around the world. You can groove to more of his sounds on SoundCloud here.

Bhumenjoy Konsam, Illustrator

Manipur, India

Bhumenjoy is a multi-talented illustrator and animator based in Manipur, in the far North East of India. He's worked with Preeti on many previous projects, and also works with major corporations as a commercial animator.

In 2008 Bhumenjoy directed a feature-length animated feature film called "Tiger Head", based on an epic tale from his native Manipur (see trailer here). His website is www.oomaibi.com

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