Janvi Ghatalia has been working as a volunteer associate designer for The Shadow Box Theatre, a children’s shadow puppet theatre. Designing belts, scarves, clothing and so much more for the company’s productions. Specifically for the dance/puppet/musical, The Earth and MeJanvi designedthese multi-colored, silky squares that functioned as sashes for the dancers’ tunics, but they performed many functions throughout the dance. For example, many of the sashes had a large copper ring-buckle, and in one of the dances, the buckle became a bracelet, which was worn as such, and, as the dancers moved, the squares billowed from the bracelets, creating the waves of the ocean through which dolphins and other sea creature puppets swam. The sashes alternately became veils, ghostly head coverings and dashing scarves, and at one point, most effectively, ropes that bound Mother Earth while her children fought wars and stripped the earth of it’s resources.

There is a magician’s illusion in which scarves magically change colors and Ms. Ghatalia uses this magicians mechanism in her design, so that some of the multi–colored scarves change into the black binding ropes I mentioned above, and, at the happy conclusion of the piece, a string of international flags symbolizing the unity of all nations, coming together in peace to care for the planet.

These sashes are a central feature of the dance, and help to create atmosphere, character, and drama. Thanks to Ms. Ghatalia’s contribution, The Earth and Me was animated with a special kind of charm.