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WHAT: “An Evening of Shakti (strength) and Bhakti (devotion)”
WHEN: Saturday, August 6, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora St., downtown arts district)

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The Event ...

Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation (ICHF),Indique Dance Company and New York City’s Battery Dance present an Indo-American cultural journey focused on the Hindu principles of “Shakti” (strength) and “Bhakti” (devotion).

In its 20-year history, ICHF, a non-profit organization, has provided an accessible platform for Indian classical dance to the mainstream community, with the objective of promoting inter-cultural awareness and educating the masses about Indian culture and heritage in the DFW metroplex.  

Founded in Dallas in 2008, Indique Dance Company features an amalgamation of Indian classical dancers who trained together for years and have re-united to fulfill a shared vision.

Battery Dancecelebrating its 40th anniversary this year company, is the New York City’s dance ambassador to the world and has been hailed as the “new face of cultural diplomacy” and “a rarity in dance” byThe New York Times.

 EVENT REVIEW by Sonal Kulshrestha, Founder, desideewar

The program started with three consecutive breathtaking Bharatnatyam performances by Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon (picture below, provided by organuzers) hosted by ICHF's (Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation). The duo are founders of "Samradhya" institute started in 2012 to experience "rasanubhava" through the rich cultural inherited from our ancestors, as they like to put it. Their performances reflected perfection in gestures, movements and bhavas (expressions), It showcased their personal passion for the dance form; and their dedication in letting the audience experience the oneness with our culture and heritage. Their interpretation of bhakti (devotion) set the mood for the evening in line with the theme of the event, providing for a grand opening. Their performance was followed by three more by the local artists who were taught by them during the summer ICHF workshop.
Next up was Indique Dance Company presenting adept dancers (many of whom have been associated with Revathi Satyu's Aarthi School of Dance in Dallas for many years) in dance items that were copious in further defining the theme of shakti and bhakti. Their Durga Unleased set to the music by Coke Studio was among my favorites, and judging by the audience reaction- a definite popular item of others as well.

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New York's Battery Dance company returned to Dallas after 20 years. "Incidentally, this time round too, it is the Indian dance patrons of Dallas that have brought us here", said Jonathan Hollander, President, Artistic Director and Founder of the company. When we spoke to him, he was full of enthusiasm about the various collaborations they have had over the years with Indian dance companies that have allowed them to showcase the Indian traditional dances across the globe. "There is room for Bollywood dance too", he assured me. 

The company presented the Texas premiere of The Durga Project. This original, 23-minute high-intensity dance clearly provided the perfect grand finale for the Indo- American collaborative evening. Music by Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Sangita Sounds and Samir Chatterjee provided a very high quality backdrop to Western dance moves that was nothing short of amazing. This Desi-Beats-And-American-Tadka item proved to be a surprisingly perfect marriage between traditional Indian music and the graceful contemporary dance. It was interesting to see the ghungroo-less (ghungroo is ankle bells seen in Indian traditional dances) gentle tap of feet to the beats, just as much in sync, just as interestingly choreographed. The Durga Project along with the preceding solo classical Bharatanatyam performance by guest artist from India, Unnath H.R., clearly was among my absolute favorites. Unnath's masculine moves would hopefully inspire boys who are passionate about dance to embrace Indian classical dances as well, for there was nothing effeminate about his expressions either. He was a treat to watch as he slithered across the stage with hand and feet movements that were mathematically precise and visually flawless. His lissome, lithe and nimble fellow dancers together did complete justice to Indo- American fusion production which incidentally is not Hollander’s first such endeavor. His earlier choreographic works for Battery Dance have included- Songs of TagoreLayapriya, Seen by a River, Moonbeam and the more recent Into the Centre. Interestingly, it was Unnath's selection in this case that acted as the catalyst for the production. And man, what a production it was! They provided what they promised- American and Indian aesthetics combined to yield a unique and profound theatrical experience! (Photo credit: As provided by the organizers) 


With Suma Kulkarni, ICHF Executive Director
Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon
With Jonathan Hollander, President, Artistic Director and Founder of the Battery Dance company
ICHF Summer Workshop Students
Indique Dance Company in "Durga Unleashed" ...
Below- Jonathan Hollander presenting his production, The Durga Project ..
Below- Unnath performing his solo Bharatnatyam piece ...
(Picture credit: Amitava Sarkar for Battery Dance, Dallas performance)
Below- The Durga Project, (Unnath, left), Photo credit: Amitava Sarkar for Battery Dance company
Below- The Durga Project, (Unnath, 4th from left), Photo credit: Battery Dance company
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