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Spanda Vibrates Houstonians!

Spanda Vibrates Houstonians!

It was meditative, breathtaking and spectacular. I have to confess that even though I am not a connoisseur of Indian Classical dance the SPANDA performance at the Wortham Center, on Saturday made a convert of me.

The Third International Dance Conference was presented by Society for Indian Performing Arts – Samskriti. This was a two day conference from October 1-2, 2011 held at India House, highlighting the topic: ‘Indian Dance in A Global Context’.

Later that evening, the Wortham Center in Downtown Houston witnessed a packed house with Indians and Americans, as Indian Performing Arts, Samskriti presented The Repertory Dance Company from India’s premier dance institute: Kalakshetra. Under the leadership of its Director, Padma Shree Leela Samson’s first North American SPANDA (vibration) swept everyone off their feet.

The morning conference had some interesting speakers like Leela Samson, Anita Ratnam, a very well known personality in the field of dance and theater, Lata Pada, founder and Artistic Director of Sampradaya Dance Creations, Daniel Phoenix Singh, Artistic Director and President of Dakshina Dance Company, and Uttara Asha Coorlawala, teacher of technique and theoretical dance courses at Long Island University and Princeton University, New Jersey. Also participating from the Houston area Indrani Parthasarathy, Anisha Rajesh, Darshi Ramachandra, Lavanya Rajgopalan, Padmini Chari, Shipra Mehrotra, and Uma Nagarsheth.

Choreographed by Leela Samson, SPANDA means vibration and the eight talented dancers along with Leela displayed a charismatic performance having a lingering effect in everyone’s mind. The music, the dance movements with alluring facial gestures by these amazing dancers from the 75 year old organization Kalakshetra, rekindled in many the urge to embrace Indian classical dance. “The show was just phenomenal, it makes me want to go back to my dance classes,” says Houston based dancer/entrepreneur, socialite and philanthropist Reji Joseph.

“SPANDA has inspired me to think of my foundations as a dancer. It is easy to get distracted by performances and the need to get the dance right and we forget about the purpose. I definitely want to revisit my adavus (basic steps) and view it from a different perspective,” says a Houston based passionate dancer Anu Nagasimha.

SPANDA was successful in establishing a relevant dialogue between dance and music with Murugan Krishnan doing justice as the lighting engineer who did an excellent job producing special effects and creating an ambiance of mystery and drama.

The Kalakshetra Repertory Company has performed to wide acclaim around the world, each member of the company is an accomplished and creative solo performer. The artists presented mythology based dance, a performance that included contemporary and classical Bhartantayam compositions.

“Having two successful conferences I felt the time was perfect to bring another one, and along with that Samskriti is just fortunate in getting a stellar array of artists for this conference and dance performance,” says Rathna Kumar, Artistic Director of Samskriti.

Spotted at the concert and conference, Consul General of India Sanjiv Arora, Asia Society’s Martha Blackwelder, Savita Rao, Shaila Patel, Sheela Rao, Anuradha Subramaniam, Nat and Leela Krishnamurty, Vatsa Kumar, Thara Narasimha, Col. Raj Bhalla, Sesh and Prabha Bala and many other dancers and participants from Indian Classical Dance Schools in the Houston area.

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