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Daya nidhi: A Wealth of Compassion

November 2007
Daya nidhi: A Wealth of Compassion

Most people would expect a Bharathanatyam dance recital to focus on nritta, natya and nritya. How about taking classical dance, setting it against a backdrop to narrate a powerful story, and create a fundraiser charity program for an important social cause? This paved the path for Atlanta based Bharathakala Dance Academy, run by Mrs. Subathra Sudarshan, for their first charity event on September 30th, at Pace Academy Fine Arts Center, for a non-profit organization called Rising Star Outreach, which aims to aid leprosy (a chronic infectious disease affecting the nerves and skin) afflicted victims in India.

The evening was a veritable visual treat not only to Bharathanatayam aficionados but also to the general public as elements of dance and drama were beautifully presented. Archith Seshadri and Deepa Sreetal emceed the event to the nearly packed auditorium.

The show opened with Pushpanjali – an invocation offering salutations to God performed by the young students of the academy. This was followed by Slokam, a prayer devoted to Lord Ganesh; it showcased amazing coordination by the young performers.

The dance Adharam Madhuram depicting the sweet bliss of Lord Krishna touched the audience's hearts when a little Krishna emerged from the audience and ran up to Yashoda. Krishna was also praised through Thaye Yashoda (fusion) and Yadhava Madhava. A combination of Allaripu and Mallari had expressive movements interspersed with rhythmic patterns and postures. A unique portrayal of Lingashtakam mesmerized the audience with a Shiva Lingam set in the backdrop. A piece titled ‘Footnotes' was set to veena maestro Chittibabu's fusion music.

One of the highlights of the evening was a very unusual piece titled Happiness in Jungle. The magnificence of the jungle was brought to life on stage as the dancers personified the elements of nature from butterflies to the canopies of the rainforest.

After a brief intermission, Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan spoke about leprosy and introduced Becky Douglas from Rising Star Outreach. She moved the audience through a visual presentation and the work efforts being implemented to help the affected in India.

The highlight of the evening was the dance drama and brought all the students on stage to show how victims affected by leprosy are ostracized from society. Sudarshan played the protagonist of the story and her performance was truly stellar. The dance drama featured two dances -one was a Kavadi folk dance followed by a spectacular fusion dance titled Om Shanti. The dancers blended age-old Indian classical dance forms and techniques with a modern boldness and extraordinary physical control.

‘Rasamanjari', the finale, had beautiful and vibrant movements in celebration of the venerable day. Awards were presented to all the participants by Becky Douglas and Subathra Sudharshan. More information can be availed at Rising Star Outreach http://risingstaroutreach.org/

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