This year’s USA Dance Day – Dance for a Social Cause’s topic was ‘Substance Abuse and Drug Addiction’, which was hosted by Varsha Naik of Navrang Dance Academy and choreographer Sandip Soparrkar, at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey.
Dance for a Cause is an international movement which was created by Soparrkar approximately 10 years ago to help raise awareness about important social issues around the world.
After the reciting of the Indian and American national anthems, the show opened with a performance choreographed by Soparrkar with a powerful message of drug abuse.
The performance was followed by 11 other ones from dance groups in and around New Jersey featuring dance forms such as bharatnatyam, mohiniyattam, Colombian salsa, Paraguay folk, tap dance, bachata, Indian folk, Tollywood, ballroom, Belly dancing and Zumba fitness dance.
Dancers of many traditions came together to help raise awareness about the dangers of drug addiction and life was celebrated and honored through choreographed movement with the slogan “be high on dance, not on drugs.”
Daniel M. Elkins, a professional drug prevention specialist and community mobilizer for the Delaware Prevention Coalition and charter president of Bellefonte Lions Club, was the chief guest and keynote speaker at the event.
“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Soparrkar, Varsha Naik, and Navrang Dance Academy for hosting such a wonderfully positive event and for inviting me to participate,” Elkins said.
“The outpouring of support from corporate sponsors, news media outlets, local government, and members of the community for this event is awe-inspiring. Everyone who helped Varsha Naik and Dr. Soparrkar make this incredible community event possible should be truly proud of their accomplishments,” he added, stressing on the importance of community support and education regarding the sensitive topic of drug abuse among teens and young adults.
Guests of honor included Ajay Patil, Upendra J. Chivukula, Lion Armando Gurra, Lion Subarna Sahni and Pam Suri.
“For me dance is not just a medium to entertain but even a way to educate and create awareness and I and overwhelmed with the way Varsha Naik has brought people to together celebrating dance,” Soparrkar said.