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NEHTI-YCEP Raises 5K To Support Youth Programs

Ranjani Saigal

A dance recital by eleven year child prodigy Shraddha Nagraj presented by the YCEP arm of New England Hindu Temple  helped raise 5K to support the educational and cultural programs geared towards the youth. The program was held at the  Keefe Technical High School in Framingham, MA on May 9th.

Little Shraddha Nagaraj, who is currently a studying dance in Mumbai , India dazzled the audience with her performance. She opened with a pushpanjali, followed with Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma and then proceeded to present episodes from the Ramayana. Her Abhinaya was way beyond her ears. Whether was depicted  Sita in Love in Yara Ivar Yaro or Soorpanaka trying to attract the attention of Rama and Lakshmana , she did it with ease. It was indeed hard to believe that this girl was only eleven. "We are planning to move to Bangalore so she can recieve advanced training in Bharatanatyam" says her father. Advanced training in Nritta and building stamina would certainly go a long way in shaping this very talented dancer.

Present in the audience were Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Poornima Soorya, Poornima Risbud, Jothi Raghavan, Vyjanthi Prasad, Thenu Rajan , Indira Rajasekar, Sangita Raghunathan , Sumitra Anand and other dance teachers. All were full of praise for the young dancer.  A wonderful brochure with articles on different dance forms in India was published by the temple.

The work of YCEP is critical as the temple tries to induct youngsters mostly second generation Indian American to take greater interest in the temple and its activities. "It is critical we do this for it is the children who will be taking over the temple from us in the next decade" says K.G Narayana.

YCEP has instituted a scholarship program for high school seniors. For the past two years the temple has offered $1000 Scholaraship to one student for classical dance, Carnatic and Hindustani music and for academic excellence. These awards will be presented on May 31 at the graduation ceremony to be held at temple. If graduating seniors would like to participate in the ceremony, please arrive at the temple at 9:00 am on May 31.

To learn more about NEHTI and its work please check out http://www.nehti.org.

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