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Kutchipudi mixed up with Tango, Salsa, Belly Dancing and more?

March 2008
Kutchipudi  mixed up with Tango, Salsa, Belly Dancing and more?

An “International Nite” is often a predictable assortment of amateurs from various ethnic backgrounds performing their routine tricks. Not this one. It stood out sharply in contrast in the sheer quality and professionalism of its eclectic ensemble of very talented performers.

The National Association for Serving Hands (NASH), in presenting its first International Nite on February 16 at the Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA, outshone many veteran organizations by simply scouting for the very best of performers in each of the many wonderful categories in a four-hour program which was a figurative journey around the world. Not only was NASH able to gather such an ensemble in just two months, but was also successful in having them agree to perform pro bono for the noble cause of the evening. The proceeds from the event were dedicated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).

The evening began with a nuanced performance of Kuchipudi, an Indian classical dance by the students of Sasikala Penumurthi. From here, the program flew off to a distinctly international flavor with aplomb. The audience was led to a delightful journey of continent hoping right from their seats. The first stop was Istanbul. Asha, who has earned her fame in the Indian community of Atlanta as a Caucasian beauty who pulls off Indian and other Eastern dances with native grace and ease, gave a captivating performance of a Turkish Sufi veil and a sword dance.

A South Asian fusion A Cappella group, Taal Tadka, took the stage crooning to beats from around the world. A diverse group itself, the singers showed their range as they started off with a melodious French tune and ended their segment with a harmonious rendition of the well known pop song, “Give It To Me” by Timbaland.

The first half of the event also included a Scottish Country dance by the Atlanta Branch Royal Scottish Dance Society, a Brazilian Capoiera, a West African tribal dance, and an ethnic fashion show.

During the intermission, a fun-filled fair invited the audience for delicious treats and henna tattoos. Later, Chief guests Rajesh Jyotishi, President and CEO of Shalin Financial Services and cofounder of Khabar Magazine, and Georgia Rep. Hugh Floyd (D- District 99) emphasized that through embracing cultural diversity and taking care of not only ourselves but those around us, we each have the power to make the world a better place.

The journey continued as the audience was then jettisoned to China for a beautiful traditional dance by Atlanta Chinese Dance Company. A dual performance of belly dancing by a talented team had them hopping over to the middle east. An Argentinian Tango mesmerized those who appreciated the performing duo who relied not on choreography but only on each other to create beautiful moments of flow, beauty, and sensuality.

The evening then featured a Latin Salsa, a bharatnatyam ballet, a hip hop performance and a Moroccan dance – all presented with the high quality benchmark established by each preceding group.

NASH was launched in 2004 by two ambitious college students, Archith Seshadri and Aishwarya Narendran. Through a successful International Nite, it fulfilled its mission of aiding development for youth through cultural diversity. “Thanks to the dedication of the planning team, sponsors, volunteers and amazing performers, NASH was able to help Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. With all of the positive feedback we have received, we plan to improve and make International Nite an annual event with an even better show,” said co-founder Archith Seshadri.

- Devika Rao.

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