Indian folklore to come to life at Menlo Park Library event

by Contributed Content on October 1, 2015

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On October 3, the Menlo Park Library will host a performance of The Story Dancers — Ruth Halpern (pictured) and Jyoti Rout — who combine classical Indian folklore with Odissi dance.

Storyteller Ruth Halpern says of herself: “As a child, I fell in love with the folktales and myths that I found in the 398 section of the library. Then, as a student at UC Berkeley, I saw a professional storyteller perform, and I was hooked. I finally knew the name of the thing I’d always wanted to be.

“Since college, I’ve performed from Bolivia to Scotland to Fiji, sharing folktales and personal stories, and improvising stories based on audience suggestions right on the spot. My passion is helping others find their authentic storytelling voice. Because when you can become the narrator of your own stories, you gain control over the story of your life.”

Jyoti Rout’s interest in dance was kindled during childhood, when she witnessed a tribal dance by firelight in a remote mountain village. Years later, she enrolled at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidylay, the Orissa University for Music & Dance. She immersed herself in dance for the next 16 years, earning a master’s degree in Odissi, and went on to study vocal music and Chau Dance.

Following a successful career as a dancer in Orissa, India, Jyoti came to the U.S. in 1993 and founded Jyoti Kala Mandir College of Indian Classical Arts, a dance & music school with locations in California and India.

The Menlo Park Library’s event featuring The Story Dancers will take place on Saturday, October 3 at 11:00 am at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, located at 701 Laurel Street in Menlo Park. This special performance free and open to the public, thanks to the Friends of the Menlo Park Library, and no reservation is necessary to attend. Free wheelchair accessible van service is available for Menlo Park area seniors and people with disabilities; call 330-2512 for van reservations.

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