Art Hounds: Dance set to poetry and ghosts of the season

Three dancers pose before a statue
Amanda Dlouhy, Kortland Jackson and Madhulika Srikanth perform in "Shaamya — Of Equality" by Katha Dance Theatre.
Photo by Kalyan Mustaphi

Susana di Palma of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre is planning to attend the world premiere this weekend of “Shaamya — Of Equality.” The performance by Katha Dance Theatre is a coming-together of music, dance and poetry, inspired by the poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s visions of equality across gender, race and religion.

Choreographed by Katha Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi, the show incorporates ballet, hiphop and flamenco along with the rhythmically complex kathak dance from northern India.

The show features music by J.D. Steele and poetry by Somali-American performer Ifrah Mansour. Taken together, di Palma says, this original work is “going to provoke thought and feeling in a beautiful way that we can all examine” on a universal topic. The show runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul.


Michael Murnane, a lighting director and head electrician at the Minnesota Orchestra, is a huge fan of the rock band Annie and the Bang Bang. They have a new record — available in both vinyl and digital — called “Walkie Talkie.” Murnane says it's the kind of music that makes you both want to move around and sit and focus on its thoughtful lyrics.

“They're like a garage band but with 30 years of experience,” said Murnane. “It looks like they're in it for the fun, but they're saying really interesting things.”


Artist Janine Holter of Montrose drove to Lanesboro when Commonweal Theatre Company opened its first in-person show this spring. She’ll be there for the close of the 2021 season with its production of “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Friday and runs through Dec. 19. It’s the classic ghost-filled story based on the work of Charles Dickens, complete with the heartfelt transformation of miserly Scrooge.

Commonweal’s twist is to cast Scrooge and the three ghost characters as women. “[Commonweal Associate Artistic Director] Adrienne Sweeney is just a delightful actress,” Holter said, “and I know she’s going to play one heck of a nasty Scrooge.”

It’s not the first time women have played Scrooge. In 2018, the Guthrie cast both a male and a female lead, with Nathaniel Fuller playing the role 43 times and Charity Jones, in male dress, starring in 13 shows.

Sweeney developed this version of the show as she thought about how a female Scrooge might fit historically and resonate today.

Patrons are required to wear masks inside the theater. The show will also be available virtually.

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