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KHANAK - A Dance Performance By Dance Troupe Visiting From India

Brij Garg

The six artists from Kalanidhi Center of Performing Arts led by Dr. Sucharita Khanna kept the audience spell bound in the two-hour show.  The KHANAK dance show last Saturday (Aug 27, 2022) generated a lot of positive comments from the audience.  One woman termed it as one of the best shows she had ever seen.  Shri Sudhir Parikh of Satsang, who is a yoga teacher himself, found Shiva dance so beautiful that he felt like joining the artists on the stage and dance with them.  Part way into the show, another audience member came out and said "It is a great show.  I have already posted it on my Facebook page.  Why aren't there more people here?".  

The beginning choreography related to spiritual themes of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Devi (the divine Mother and Shakti) and progressed on to folk dances from five different parts of India: Assamese Bihu, Marathi Lavani, Kashmiri Rouf, Rajasthani Ghoomar and Gujarati Dandia Raas and Garba.  "They were all very lively powerful performances.  Artists' faces were gleaming with Energy and Enthusiasm", one person remarked.  "What a choreography and performance in traditional, very colorful dresses", remarked another.   "God bless the artists", said another.  "It is hard to learn even one style of dance.  These artists are able to do several styles of completely different dances in such a short time", said yet another.  The woman volunteer assigned to assist the artists in the green room marveled at the superb organization and speed of artists in changing their dresses from one number to another.  And after completing the show, they were taking an early morning flight to Atlanta for the show on Sunday!

The show was organized at Keefe Technical School in Framingham to bring awareness of the Support A Child project which benefits very poor children in India for education, food and living expenses in various institutions across all the states in India.  A $250 donation covers the expenses for one child for a year. Smaller donations are also helpful in running the project.  Donors can sponsor one or more children (one donor supported 50 children that evening).  Volunteers carefully monitor the program during their trips to India. The name, address and photo of the supported child are sent to the supporter. Ms. Vandana Sharma from Boston area briefly spoke during the program to share her experience visiting an institution where she met several children that are supported by the project and shared a video of her visit that provided a personal connection for the audience. 

It was wonderful to see active volunteer participation by young college and high school students.  Shivani Shah of Babson gracefully managed audience interaction as a flawless MC.  Preethi Ganesh, Avani Kashalikar, Vani Sharma, Ananya Sharma, Vidhatri Rayasam and Vaishnavi managed the incoming sponsorships and their announcements.  Krupa Patel helped download an important video in the nick of time for playing during the show.  The organizer appreciated the spirit of these youth who chose to relate to their less fortunate brothers and sisters halfway around the world to practice the principle of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam (World is One Family).

Federation of India Association, New England volunteers took on all the duties related to food procurement and its distribution to the audience.  They recently organized a very successful India Day parade in Boston to mark the 75th anniversary of India's Independence where they honored and served Veterans, Homeless shelters in addition to festivities.  They also honored the freedom fighters of USA and India whose sacrifices make it possible for all of us to pursue our dreams.  Their efforts at the last Saturday's program indicated their commitment to serve worthy causes in India also.

The only answer the organizers could give to the common refrain as to why weren't more people informed about such a beautiful program was that they tried to publish through Lokvani, Gunjan radio and other media outlets.  However, because there are so many programs in weekends, it is hard for audiences to judge them.   It is only by word of mouth that such shows get known and attract a very large audience.  The national team of Support A Child brings out exceptionally good artists to showcase India's culture in USA.  The previous live show (in 2029) by Dhaatu Puppet Theatre of Bangalore was also very unique and greatly appreciated by those who attended it. 

Last but most important, the show generated enthusiasm and awareness of the Support A Child project.  As a result, about 170 children are supported from Boston area according to the pledges received last Saturday evening.  One can still support children by going to https://www.supportachildusa.org/donate.  The local organizers lead by Brijesh Sharma and Pramod Pandey thank you for your support and are gratified by the support of fellow volunteers in putting together such a delightful and worthy program.

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