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First-ever North Georgia Indian classical dance fest held

Atlanta, GA, April 27, 2022: Several Atlanta area Indian classical dance schools got together to celebrate Utsav 2022 North Georgia Indian Dance Festival curated by Soorya Foundation on April 23, 2022. Previously called the Forsyth Indian Dance Fest which was curated virtually, this was the first-ever Indian classical dance festival to be held in Georgia.

The event featured dance performances by five local dance ensembles. Students of RAMA Atlanta, a religious nonprofit group chanted shlokas and inaugurated the festival.

Guru Chandrika Chandran being honored by the guests and host Guru Sushma Mohan (right).
Photo courtesy: Girish Modi.

Guru Chandrika Chandran, artistic director of Natyanjali Academy of Dance (one of the first to begin teaching Bharatnatyam in Atlanta) was honored for her contributions to dance in Georgia.  Chandran thanked the organizers for the honor bestowed upon her and looked back at the days when she was one of the very few dance teachers in Georgia and there were fewer performance opportunities. Chief guests of the event, NRI Pulse founding editor and author Veena Rao, Guru Revathy Satyu and Desh Kapoor lauded the efforts of Soorya Foundation at curating festivals that bring local artists together.

The event was attended by many local dance gurus and dancers.

Soorya foundation for Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization founded in Los Angeles under the able guidance of award winning Bharathanatyam dancer, choreographer, musician, Guru Sushma Mohan. She has worked with Grammy awardee Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat as an assistant dance director under Guru Prasanna Kasthuri and has received awards from the Forsyth County Arts Alliance, California Arts Council, LA County Arts Commission, and LA City Dept of Cultural Affairs for her curatorial dance projects. She has been curating classical dance events in Bangalore, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Georgia since 2005. This festival aims at providing a platform for Bharatanatyam and other classical dance forms in the USA.

Guru Sushma Mohan who spearheaded the entire event conveyed that though there are countless dance schools in Georgia, there are just a handful of opportunities for young dancers here in the US and her foundation works to create such performing opportunities.

She was the first dancer to curate a virtual festival during Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, and in the last two years, Soorya Foundation has curated nine virtual dance festivals, featuring over 75 dancers.

Utsav 2022, a free event, was attended by over 300 people, and many responded that they looked forward to the next dance festival.

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