In Bollywood Dance Scene’s The Land of Maaya, Nisha is a blind teenager being raised by her widowed mother, Pushpa, in India. Their source of income is growing crops, but there’s been a drought so they’re struggling, and they owe money to Darma, a money lender. Since she was a child, Nisha has loved hearing Pushpa tell the story of the land of Maaya, which thrives on light but is being threatened by Shunga who wants to take over their land and put out the light.
The show flows back and forth between Nisha and Pushpa’s story and the story of what’s happening in Maaya. Like every other Bollywood Dance Scene show I’ve seen, there are several amazing dance numbers where the cast fills the stage with dynamic choreography and powerful imagery. My favorites involve the use of balls of light in Maaya, along with a sheer backdrop sprinkled with light.
There are clear parallels between the stories, and there are some pretty intense dance scenes. The two come together in an unexpected but delightful way towards the end. Everyone in the cast is fun to watch, and there’s a nice balance of drama and comedy.
BDS continually strives for inclusivity in their shows; they’ve included stories of homosexuality, and last year’s MinneUtsav show looked at the mental health aspect of immigrating to the US. The message in The Land of Maaya is that just because Nisha is blind doesn’t mean she’s not capable of doing things that most other people do. I’ll admit that I wish that Nisha and Pushpa’s goal wasn’t to get Nisha a surgery that would give her the ability to see, as that’s not a realistic possibility for most people who are blind. My favorite line, however, is when someone asks how Nisha can do chores around the house, and Pushpa says she does them just like everybody else.
You have one more chance to see this show: click here to buy tickets.
The Land of Maaya is presented as part of MinneUtsav, Bollywood Dance Scene’s south Asian performing arts festival. MinneUtsav also includes BollyProv (South Asian-inspired improv), a body positive fashion show, workshops, and more. Make sure to follow BDS on social media so you don’t miss out on their next shows, and watch the video below to get a taste of what you’ll experience when you go.