The Rasa Festival shifts formats for its 2021 celebration of Indian arts


Ann Arbor's Rasa Festival, which celebrates Indian dance, music, theater, film, and poetry, moved online during the quarantine. Generally speaking, it kept the format of the previous years' festivals just with scheduled live streams during the length of the festival rather than in-person events.

For the 2021 edition, Rasa will still be entirely online, but rather than presenting a series of livestreams in a compacted time period, the festival will produce event videos about once a month for the next six to eight months.

The Ann Arbor District Library is a partner for this year's Rasa Festival, which kicks off with Songs of Dusk on on Saturday, October 23, at 11 a.m. 

Songs of Dusk features five dances choreographed to songs featuring the lyrics of poet Batakrishna Dey, the father of Rasa founder Sreyashi Dey.

The dancers are the styles of dances there are doing include:

- Poushali Chatterjee, Manipuri
- Anurekha Ghosh, Kathak
- Momm Ganguly, Mohiniyattam
- Kohal Das, Odissi and Bangla Folk
- Sreyashi Dey, Odissi

This is not the first time Dey has honored her father's literary work through dance. There are seven dance videos posted on, including the lovely seasonal work "Tumi Thako Ami Jai," which is described thusly:

A melodious song, full of pathos, written by Batakrishna Dey, and composed by Sailen Mukhopadhyay and sung by Manabendra Mukhopadhyay. This song has been choreographed in the Odissi style by Sreyashi Dey. The poet is watching the leaves fall from the trees in autumn and is filled with sadness. In a conversation with the tree, he asks the leaves to stay, and if anyone has to leave, he says he will. He asks the leaves to stay and paint a dream-filled picture for us. It is as if he can hear the soft weeping of the leaves that will inevitably fall, so he entreats them to stay and for the tree to bear new buds and flowers. He cannot bear to imagine the bare branches of the tree as if sighing in sadness, instead he only wants to be soothed by the breeze that has touched the young new leaves.

Visit to keep up to date with forthcoming videos and events.