BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, June 9, 2023: A rainy afternoon notwithstanding, Berkmar High Auditorium came alive with the artists who performed to a houseful audience on April 16 2023 at the Rhythms of India (ROI) event organized by India American Cultural Organization (IACA). The spectacular performances by 11 acclaimed Atlanta dance academies, along with performances by guest artists left the audience spellbound.
While the primary focus remained on dance forms, ROI 2023 also featured mesmerizing live music by renowned artists from India, including Anirban Bhattacharyya, a Hindustani classical vocalist of the Patiala Gharana and senior disciple of Padmabhushan Ajoy Chakraborty, accompanied by Sitar artist Chandrachur Bhattacharjee and Amol Khanapurkar on Tabla.
The grand ensemble was coordinated by Geetanjali Talukdar, Exec VP IACA, who served as the Program Director for 2023.Lovely anchors, Bhrushira Vyas and Sneha Gupta lit up the stage with their amazing grace and radiant smiles.
“As the Program Director of ROI, I was honored. All the dance items were outstanding,” Geetanjali Talukdar, remarked.
The evening kicked off with the gracious performance by NNKB followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp by IACA EC and BOD members, Ani Agnihotri, Chairman, BOD, Dr. Paddy Sharma, BOD, Kaushal Tripathi, President IACA. Bob Erramilli, Johns Creek City Council Member was the guest of honor.
Rhythm in dance permeates from three sources, viz. 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, the artists performed their dance forms with gracious, vivacious movements that enraptured the hearts of one and all.
The podium set the audience on a journey to various states of India, narrating a myriad of mystical and mythological stories doused in mellifluous vocals and stunning traditional costumes as various academies presented dance forms of their expertise. While most schools showcased talent of their form, some chose to collaborate with each other. Scintillating dance performances by Kalashram USA, Laasya School of Performing Arts, Deeksha School of Performing Arts, Nrithya Samarpanam, Samyukta Jugalbandi, Assamese Association, Kalaivani Dance And Music Academy, Abhinaya Dance Academy, Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, Swaraajay Kalaa Tanda Atlanta, Swaranjali – Vocal and Sitar, Illumination – Priyal Doshi’s Couture enthralled the audience.
“The highlight of this year’s show (2023), was to have phenomenal artists like Anirban Bhattachrya (vocals), the par excellence sitarist Chandrachur Bhattacharya and Amol Khanapurkar on Tabla perform at ROI,” Talukdar noted. The ensemble elevated the experience with their flawless and powerful renditions, also providing live background scores for a few of the dance performances.
Geetanjali Talukdar thanked all sponsors including T. R. Reddy and Dr. Niranjini Reddy, Anurag Sharma, Priyal Doshi, Vir Nanda, Kaushal Tripathi, Vishwanath Ganti, the Dr. Baren Talukdar and Shahid Ali, and volunteers who contributed to the success of the show.
The brainchild of IACA’s current president 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. The first ROI was held in 2009.
“It was a lot of hard work and innumerable hours that went behind the scenes in preparation of the event. I thank IACA for this golden opportunity to showcase India’s artistic best,” Talukdar said.