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Third Eye Dancers’ ‘Guru Samarpana’ raises funds for Tamilnad Kidney Research Foundation

By Mahadev Desai
October 2011
Third Eye Dancers’ ‘Guru Samarpana’ raises funds for Tamilnad Kidney Research Foundation

Third Eye Dancers, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, presented a Bharatnatyam, Kathak, and Kuchipudi dance program, “Guru Samarpana,” as a fundraiser for Tamilnad Kidney Research Foundation (TANKER Foundation), at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, on Sunday, August 28.

The show, a sold-out event which attracted over 650 patrons, featured professional artists, some of whom are founders and directors of dance academies in Atlanta; South Carolina; Washington D.C., Chicago, and California. They came together not only for the charitable cause but also to show submission, gratitude, love, and respect for their respective Gurus.

Subathra Sudarshan explained the mission of Third Eye Dancers: giving through dance, using dance to increase awareness about social issues affecting children, so that families can get involved in the remediation of such issues.

The program was emceed with flair by Krishna Kumar who with his wife Sivakami runs Bharata Kalarpana School of Indian Culture and Fine Arts in South Carolina. He introduced each item with a brief history

accompanied with facial and hand gestures.

17-year-old Sutikshna Veeravali, a Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic music singer, set the ball rolling with graceful Nrittanjali.

Kumud Savla and her Kathak students from Nritya Natya Kala Bharati Dance Academy performed to the
beloved devotional “Hanuman Chalisa.” Then she and daughter Samta portrayed the divine love and romantic teasing of Radha by Lord Krishna to “Mohe Chhedo Naa.”

Krishna Kumar and Sivakami then performed a Bharatanatyam dance choreographed by Subathra Sudarshan, to a song in praise of the art form, “Aaadal Kalaiye” from the Tamil movie Sri Ragavendra.

Sasikala Penumarthi of the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance performance to the popular Bengali song “Bodhu Kon Alo” from Tagore’s play “Chitrangda.”

Bharathakala Natya Academy’s artistic director Subathra Sudarshan; Artistic Director of Mrudani School Anuradha Murali; Kannan Rasiah from Yogaville, Virginia; Aparna Seetharaman from California; and Artistic Director of Samyuktam Natya Academy, Preetha Sayeekrishnan performed an exuberant dance to a popular composition “Yen Palli Kondeer Ayya” by Arunachala Kavirayar.

Sutikshna Veeravalli’s Bharatanatyam dance to Meera Bai’s soul-stirring bhajan Hari Tum Haro” elicited a standing ovation from the audience. Choreographed by her mother and Guru Vanitha Subathra Sudarshan
Veeravalli of the Bharatam Academy of Dance Arts in Chicago, the dance interweaved three interesting episodes: Lord Krishna coming to help Draupadi at her disrobing by Dushasana; Hiranyakashipu and Prahlad; and Gajendra Moksha where Lord Vishnu comes down to earth to save Gajendra (elephant) from the clutches of Makar (crocodile).

Dr. Subha Maruvada, a Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer who runs Pranava Natyam Kuchipudi School of Dance in Maryland, presented a Kuchipudi dance in praise of Sri Bhuvaneswari. Sasikala and her Academy students performed to “Jagadananda Karaka,” a famous Pancaratna-keertana by poet Thyagaraja.

Subathra Sudarshan of Third Eye dancers and the Bharathakala Natya Academy in Johns Creek performed her dance to “Jaya Maruthi Kauthuvam,” in praise of Lord Anjaneya. In this episode from Ramayana, Hanuman enters Ashoka Vana and delivers the ring from his master, Rama to Sita and later sets fire to Sri Lanka.

Dr. Manohar Nallathambi, an Atlanta-based surgeon introduced the TANKER Foundation to the audience. “Kidney Failure is the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease. For the past 18 years  TANKER has fought against kidney diseases by providing subsidized and free dialysis and financial support to the underprivileged … in Chennai and Madurai and is set to begin two more units in Tirunelveli and Coimbatore. … There is a dedicated dialysis unit for poor with HIV, the very first of its kind in India.”

The students of Subathra Sudarshan danced, describing the beauty of Lord Muruga, to the devotional piece “Malai Varum Velai.” The concluding item Nrittangaharam-Behag was performed by the group Bharatasangamam from all over the U.S.—Subathra and Preetha from Atlanta; Anuradha; Krishna Kumar and Sivakami from South Carolina; Kannan Rasiah from Virginia; and Aparna from California. The artists danced with panache, and ended the highly entertaining program with mangalam.

“Joy of giving has no other match,” said Sudarshan Srinivasan in his vote of thanks. He invited the audience to Third Eye Dancer’s next event, a fundraiser on October 29 for education for Bhutanese refugees in Atlanta.

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