The Making of a Bahu: A night of dance, art, and conversation

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Poster of the dance-drama performed by the group Aavegh, in Naperville, Illinois,Sept. 9 and 10. (Photo: Facebook)

Naperville IL: Directed by Supna Chaudhari Jain, Avegh dance troupe presented “The Making Of A Bahu”, a journey of loss and recovery of identity on September 9 and 10. Aavegh took the more than 300 people in the audience on a journey familiar to many Indian women: growing up to be educated and independent and suddenly transitioning to the submissive role of daughter-in-law once married.

The show was an effort to explore issues like the expected role of daughters-in-law and its consequences, as well as the role of society and women in  perpetuating these expectations and what could be done to change the dialogue.

The dances depicted various phases of a woman’s journey from being a little girl to a daughter-in-law, a wife and a mother.  Each segment was complemented with original artwork and quotes from Indian women interviewed as part of research conducted by Jain, the artistic director who is the Instructor of Communication at North Central College, and Mara K. Berkland, professor of communication at North Central College. Their research is entitled “Making of the Hollow Bahu: The Web of Influence on Bahu Disempowerment.”

The dance program was followed by an invigorating and sometimes passionate exchange of dialogue between the researchers and the audience who expressed their thoughts and impressions on the dances, artwork, and research and on what can be done to change the dialogue.

“The concept of marriage as presented in Bollywood movies and soap operas versus the real-life marriage differ in many ways both good and bad,” said one of the attendees, adding, “While it’s easy to think it’s no longer the case, the status quo towards women today is still flawed.”

Proceeds from this production will be donated to Aavegh’s local nonprofit partner Bridge Communities. The mission of Bridge Communities is to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency by working with partners to provide mentoring, housing, and supportive services. The adopted families are usually homeless mothers and their children who have been victims of domestic violence or poverty.

Aavegh has been helping local and worldwide nonprofits since 2005, according to the organization.

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