BY MAHADEV DESAI
Atlanta, GA: Mahek Dance Academy held its spectacular seventh annual dance recital at the 444 Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, May 16.
The spectacular dance recital was emceed with great flair by Dr. Harsheel Desai. He welcomed all and introduced each dance and performers in the recital of about fourteen engrossing dances, an imaginative mix of classical Bharat Natyam to contemporary Bollywood to fusion and folk dances to popular Bollywood hit songs, conceptualized and choreographed by the academy’s founder and director Mahek Shah and performed with finesse by her, assistant dance teacher Aaadithya Prem and over 30 of her academy’s students of varying ages and diverse nationalities..
Mahek Shah and Aadithya began the recital with an ‘Ganesh Stuti’ dance which was greeted with rousing applause. This was followed with an uplifting and riveting Mallari Bharatanatyam dance, named after a musical composition played on the nadaswaram, a traditional Indian instrument.
Pre-teens and teens with colorful pompoms performed a cheerful dance to the popular‘chance pe dance’song with Punjabi lyrics. In quick succession, the academy’s well-trained students enthralled the audience with dances to favorite Bollywood songs like ‘Tune maari entry’;’Manwa laage’;Dhinka chikka’;’Tu meri’;’India Wale’;’Bang bang’;’Chittiyaan kalaiyaan’;’Radha Nachegi’;and ‘Tharki chokro’; in multihued, shimmering costumes, facial and hair adornments, and jingling anklets, showcasing their dancing skills with well coordinated and effortless moves, poise, youthful exuberance and confidence, which had the audience tapping their feet and clapping all along. In the vibrant dance to ‘Tu meri’the dancers showed precise coordination in different moves and formations. At one point, the lights were dimmed and they created awesome colored patterns with LED lights. In another engaging dance to the song ‘Bang bang’ four dancers enhanced the costume’s flavor by sporting pink or blue hats. In the dance to the song ‘chittiyaan kalaiyaan’with Punjabi and English lyrics, the Academy’s two senior students dazzled the audience with their energy, coordination, leaps and use of ribbons.
The academy’s assistant dance teacher since 2009,Aadithya charmed the audience in the dance to Swaminatha paripalaya ,a traditional Carnatic music keerthana composed by dikshitar. The song in Sanskrit, is in raga nattai and tala adi. The version used for the dance was performed by a rock band, Haricharan w. Bennet and the band. The dance elicited wide applause.
It was refreshing to see highly proficient Mahek and Aadithya perform to’ Fortune Days’ by Glitch Mob. ‘Fortune days’ has no lyrics but hypnotizing electronic dance music generated by the DJ without directly using any instruments. The dance added a special touch by incorporating dandiyas. The breathtaking dance won a well- deserved applause. Mahek commented,” We chose that song because we wanted to blend the sharpness of bharathanatyam with the fluidity of modern dance and the music complemented that very well. “
The finale had all the participants came on stage to dance to ‘Tharki chokro’,a Rajasthani song with catchy but funny lyrics. This dance had the enthusiastic audience tapping their feet and clapping their hands.
Mahek thanked all the parents for supporting and encouraging their children in participating in the show and thereby in promoting Indian culture.
Mahek and Aadithya proceeded to present glittering trophies to the participants.