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The Sacred And The Sensuous

Ranjani Saigal

India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) presented Neena Gulati and the Triveni Ensemble in a fundraising Indian Classical Dance performance called "The Sacred & the Sensuous", many facets of a devotees longing for union with the Divine on Sunday, April 25th, 2004 at 3:00 PM.

The Triveni Ensemble is a highly acclaimed group that has performed in New England for the past 15 years. Twenty-six dancers performed nine compositions. In one performance, statues of Gods and Goddesses' come alive to Krishna's flute. In another, Shiva is seen as Nataraja, Lord of the Dance.

In her characteristic style Gulhati mixed Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi dances to present a colorful program.

The dance ensemble consisted of twenty six senior dancers from the Triveni school of dance. While the pieces were familiar ones we have seen in many of the arangetrams performed by the school, Gulhati’s creative line choreography’s made the pieces very entertaining. The costumes where beautifully coordinated creating a visually pleasing effect.

A highlight of the show was Neena's presentation of Mirabai poems - sensuous, joyful, liberating love poems to God written by an unorthodox 16th century noble lady who sang and danced her poems in the streets. Gulhati sang a few verses along with tape and that evoked a few "Wah Wahs" from the audience.

Indian classical dance started in the Hindu temple as a way to communicate with God. According to Neena Gulati, "Dance is the purest expression of human spirit."

While most of the pieces were done to the accompaniment of tape music, New England's flutist Dr. Suresh Mathur provided live accompaniment to a few pieces.

Personally for me it is always inspiring to watch Nina Gulati dance. She has oldest dance school in the area and has been training so many dancers over the years. Over the years it seems like her love and passion for dance has only grown.

Money raised through this event will support the "Ekal Vidyalaya" (One Teacher School) movement that aims to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India.

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