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IACA Rhythms of India: Vibrant tapestry of Indian dance forms

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, May 2, 2024: Rhythm in dance permeates from three sources – movement, music, and emotions. Rhythm helps the dancer organize motion by providing a structure. It sets a pulse for the dancer and supports, contrasts, and accents the movement. Rhythm can be even, uneven, simple or complex. Embracing Rhythm in all its pulsating glory, eleven of Atlanta’s premier dance academies put their best foot forward to present rich tapestry of India’s traditional dance forms at IACA Rhythms of India 2024 at Berkmar High School on April 21, 2024. The event hosted by India American Cultural Association (IACA) showcased myriad of dance forms including classical, to regional folk dances.

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The show was inaugurated by Hon. Senator Sheikh Rahaman, Hon. Senator Sally Herrell and Hon. Senator Michelle Au, Sri Pritam Bhattacharjee, Director of Pandit Jasraj’s School of music and disciple of Padma Vibhusan Pandit Jasraj ji, Mr. Narendra Reddy, Veteran Life Member running for GA office, Mr. Sahid Ali, Aligarh Alumni Association President, and Mr. Nausad, Federation President, along with BOD and EC members of IACA,  who kicked off the show with traditional lighting of the ceremonial lamp.

“It was a challenging task to orchestrate the whole show in three and half weeks’ time. But with blessings of Ma Saraswati, it was a huge success with house full audience…bar was certainly raised for ROI this year at Berkmer HS auditorium,” Geetanjali Talukdar, Program Director, ROI said.

In an exemplary display of timeless performance artforms of Indian classical dances, ninety six students of Laasya Dance Academy Guru – Sridevi Ranjit, Academy of Kuchipudi Dance, Guru – Sasikala Penumarti, Naada Arts Academy Guru Varsha Jinka, , Kalashram USA, School of Kathak Dance & Performing Arts, Guru – Anurag Sharma,, Kalaivani Dance Academy, Guru – Padmaja Kelam, Bharata Darshana Guru – Soujanya Madhusudan,  , Mudra Dance Academy – Guru Manisha Mehta, Raaj ‘Sheraan da – Georgia Tech. Bhangra and Swaraajya KalaTanda – Guru Manohar Rao Harale, Abhinaya Dance Academy Guru – Bikhipta Panda  enraptured the audience with atheir spellbinding performances. The closing performance, aptly dedicated to the God of Dance – Lord Shiva featured a a special Shiv Mudra fashion walk where performers gracefully sashayed to showcase Shiv Tandav Mudras backed with celestial tunes of Shiv Tandav Stotram, choreographed by Geetanjali Talukdar.

Bedecked in traditional, regional vibrant attires, each artist represented their unique dance form with brilliance. “Dasavatar” : A Masterpiece In Motion which narrated the story of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu during Satya, Dwapar, Treta, and Kali yugs (periods of time), inundated with evocative expressions and intrinsic movements took the audience on a mystical journey, while tales of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna came alive in different dance forms – Bharatanatyam,  Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, as an energetic bhangra kicked up the spirits even as a mellow Garbha immersed the audience in the rich cultural extravaganza of India through intricate footwork, graceful movements, and evocative expressions. The fusion of classical Shiv Tandav Stotram into a fashion walk featuring Mudras offered a unique experience to the viewer. 

“As dancers took the stage, they not only showcased their artistry but also carried forward a legacy that celebrates the essence of Indian heritage,” Kaushal Tripathi, President IACA remarked.

The brainchild of IACA’s current chairman Chand Akkineni, the event was designed to depict rhythms in Indian dance forms and provide the audience a unique opportunity of witnessing these dance forms performed by talented artists on one stage in one night. “In the era of Bollywood and Western dances, it is heartening to see the young dancers and their parents supporting classical dances. IACA will encourage them and stand by them.,” Akkineni quoted.

Talukdar thanked team of her team for the hard work, sponsors, volunteers, supporters and the audience.

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