Bharathakala organizes dance recital for Hand In Hand
Samarpan, an innovative dance program, was held on December 17, 2023, at South Forsyth High School in Cumming. The program was organized by the Bharathakala Natya Academy under the guidance of Subhatra Sudarshan for helping the underprivileged in society. The two-and-a-half-hour event raised $8,000 for Hand In Hand USA.
[Left] Performers at Samarpan Dance Recital came together to support Hand In Hand USA.
The beneficiary of this specific program was Hand In Hand USA, a volunteer-run organization with a mission to serve impoverished communities in India and humanity at large. Their largest project is a residential school, Hariharananda Balashram, that provides free education, food, shelter, and healthcare to hundreds of underprivileged children.
[Right] The program was organized by the Bharathakala Natya Academy under the guidance of Subhatra Sudarshan.
The Samarpan dance recital was significant as local Atlanta children, ranging from age five through 20, worked tirelessly for months to perfect their classical dance skills to raise money for their less fortunate counterparts in rural India. The students prepared dances from a wide range of Indian forms like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kerala folk dance, dances composed to songs from a popular South Indian movie, as well as a unique fusion Bharatanatyam dance set to Beethoven’s music. When asked about the success of the experimentation with different dance styles, Subhatra said, “It’s all the divine’s blessings.”
About one hundred children assembled in a myriad of tastefully coordinated costumes adorned with flowers and jewelry. The auditorium hall was packed with over 250 audience members and the ambiance was charged with the anticipation of an exciting program that would take everyone’s breath away with its skill and grandeur.
[Left] Dancers’ performances left the audience enthralled.
The program started with a video of Hand In Hand USA. A total of 27 dances were presented—each prefaced with an explanation of the significance of the dance being performed. Sudharsan also explained that Indian classical dance transcends much more than mastering difficult motor coordination and understanding rhythm. The dance form is life-changing as it instills discipline, hard work, and a solid foundation to be able to perform across various genres of dance categories. The stories behind each dance are an integral part of India’s rich cultural heritage and the children displayed incredible skill in grace, coordination, and artistic expression. The students’ dedication and long hours of practice were evident by the original choreography and impeccable coordination of the group dances.
One of the audience members described the recital as “thrilling, amazing costumes and choreography.” Another attendee was impressed that every student at the academy was given an opportunity to perform regardless of their skill level. The audience remained spellbound until the program ended.
—Sherrie Banerjee, , photographs by Venkat Kuttua Photography.
The performances ranged from a variety of Indian dance forms.
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