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Delightful Spring Dance Festival In CT

Harish Krishnan

On 24th April 2010, Stamford, Connecticut resounded to the beats and rhythms of performers from around the world. On that evening thanks to Namaskaar Foundation, dance companies and artistes from diverse ethnic backgrounds performed on stage for the Spring Dance Festival, 2010.

      On that day Swathi Kamakshi Ravi, a talented artiste from Connecticut and the choreographer of the various Indian dance pieces that evening and her troupe comprising of Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Sujatha Meyyappan, Radhika Jaishankar, Abirami Manian, Monica Lakshmi Manickam, from Massachusetts enthralled one and all by their various Indian dance performances. Mrs.Jeyanthi Ghatraju an experienced Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher based in Westford, Mrs.Sujatha Meyyappan an accomplished dancer and director of Kolam Dance Academy, Mrs.Radhika Jaishankar a proficient dancer based in Framingham and energetic dancers Miss.Abirami Manian and Miss. Monica Lakshmi Manickam students of Smt.Thenu Rajan and  Mrs. Ranjani Saigal respectively presented the audience with dance styles from different Indian traditions.

      They started their evening with the Thillana, in praise of Lord Nataraja, with an elegant and well synchronized dance item which was marked by performer’s grand costumes. The group followed it up with ‘Kummi’ a south Indian folk dance traditionally played during harvest festivals in southern India. The joyful and playful mood of the music in conjunction with the folksy settings of this piece was evident both in the dance movements and attire of the performers.

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      Your browser may not support display of this image. Swathi also brought to stage one of the most unforgettable moments in Ramayana of Ravana’s kidnapping of Sita and the eagle Jatayu’s vain attempt in preventing the same. The ensemble choreographed by Swathi and James Atkinson was a stylish, contemporary and a modern take on the timeless scene from Ramayana; produced by combining different elements of Modern Dance, Ballet and Bharatanatyam. This juxtaposition was set to soulful and stirring music which enthralled the audience.  

      Your browser may not support display of this image. Swathi and her group from Massachusetts later wowed one and all by their eye catching and stunning dance medley set to the popular tunes from movies like Slum Dog Millionaire, Ashoka and Devdas. Dressed in chic blue, they put together a captivating repertoire of eye catching and brisk moves set to pulsating music that combined the best of Indian classical and folk dance vocabulary. The dance recitals from this group which spanned various Indian dance genres were marked by its energy, vigor and grace. The choreography of the various pieces and the synchronized nature of the performances were appreciated by everyone in the audience. 

      Your browser may not support display of this image. That evening also saw incredible and eye catching ensemble from various other countries including the Mambo from Cuba, the Hopak and Pryvit from Ukraine, the Tap dance from Ireland among others. These dances left an indelible impression on the audience. The ensembles were marked by nuanced dance moves; energetic tempo; incredible style; great stage presence; and more.  

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      There were other times when some of the pieces from countries like Peru, Haiti seemed longer and the audio a little muted. However, those were simply minor quirks in an otherwise a highly enjoyable and memorable evening for dance aficionados.

(The author Harish Krishnan is a technology professional, Indian classical arts patron, blogger, freelance journalist residing in Palo Alto, California and can be contacted at harishk@gmail.com. )

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Photography : Mr.Meiyappan & Chokku Manian

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