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Bharatanatyam to Promote Unity and Diversity

June 2003
Bharatanatyam to Promote Unity and Diversity

Natyananda in Birmingham Celebrates 25th Anniversary

A multicultural arts festival called Celebrate Unity, Honor Diversity will be held on June 28th at the Jemison Concert Hall in Birmingham, Alabama. It will be presented by the Natyananda Dance School, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Founded by in 1978 by Sheila Rubin, Natyananda presents Bharatanatyam in a manner that's accessible to audiences unfamiliar with South Asian art and culture. Through student, professional and guest-artist presentations, Natyananda promotes the understanding of universal artistic and cultural themes, and it also showcases the unique and rich heritage if Alabama's Indian-American community. Founder director Sheila Rubin has devoted the last 35 years to the study, performance and propagation of this unique art in India, the United States and other countries.

The highlight of the festival will be a gala performance in which Rubin and other members of Natyananda will join Shanta and V. P. Dhananjayan, the internationally renowned performers, for a celebratory dance. The Dhananjayans, a husband-and-wife team, are well known in Indian dance. They are the founders and directors of Bharata Kalanjali, one of India's premier dance companies, and have been leading artists representing India in festivals around the world for the last 45 years. The Dhananjayans are active in education, having founded BHAASKARA, an academic school providing art-integrated education to underprivileged children in India. Visiting musicians from India will also participate in the program. A variety of multicultural artistic groups from Birmingham, totaling about 60 people, will give a performance of "Raghupati Raghav Rajaram," Mahatma Gandhi's favorite hymn.

General admission tickets for the gala performance are $15 each. They will be available at the Alys Stephens Center box office in Birmingham. One can also contact Natyananda. For further information, please send an e-mail to lrubin7777@aol.com.

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