Ramleela at Cullen Performance Hall on Oct 27


HOUSTON: Indo-Americans in Houston are much awaiting for Oct 27, when the next grand Ramleela comes back to Houston to mark the start of the festive occasion leading to Diwali. Kusum Sharma, the executive director of Shri Natraj School of Dance will stage this show at Cullen performance hall, University of Houston. This is the fourth year such Ramleela will be held at this facility for audience who in the past year have numbered nearly 1500. In the pantheon of Hindu festivals, Diwali probably holds pride of place among Indians in Houston. The festival of lights falls on November 3, this year.

Ramleela is a dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Lord Ram, ending up in a ten-day battle between Lord Ram and Ravan, as described in the Hindu religious epic, the Ramayana. A tradition that originates from the Indian subcontinent, the play is staged annually often over ten or more successive nights, during the auspicious period starting with the Dussehra festival. Usually the performances are timed to culminate on the festival of Vijayadashami day, that commemorates the victory of Lord Ram over demon king Ravana. UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of Ramleela a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.

Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School started the tradition of Ramleela in Houston in 2005, when they conducted the 1st Ramleela with all female performers including Shri Ram, Hanuman & Ravaan. Since then, each passing year Ramleela has become grandeur and high tech with addition of pyro technics and rigging to increase the visual appeal for the younger generation. This year Shri Natraj School in congregation with Kalakriti Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization, is bringing together a cast of 100 people and numerous props and brilliant costumes for the production, with new episodes, several complex elements added to the play: dances to enhance the story; a narrative projected on a back screen to allow the audience to follow the story. Ramleela 2013 promises to be more exciting and spectacular than ever this year. The chief guest of honor is Consul General of India P. Harish, with the well know Sunil T, from Masala Radio as master of ceremony.

Kusum Sharma expresses her heartiest appreciation to all the supporters, countless volunteers, 100 plus performers and sponsor that have supported the Ramleela in Houston over the years.

For further information and sponsorship contact Kusum Sharma at kusum@shrinatraj.com or visit www.ramleelahouton.org