Nritya Darpan holds successful one-day dance festival in New Jersey

India’s Consul General in New York Binaya Srikant Pradhan speaking at the May 25, 2024 Nritya Darpan dance festival in New Brunswick, N J PHOTOS:Nutan Dabholkar Kalamdani

Nritya Darpan 2024, the one-day dance festival presented by the Indian Heritage and Cultural Association (IHCA-NJ), in partnership with the Consulate General of India, New York was held on Saturday May 25, 2024, at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The festival began with a speech by the Founder and President of IHCA-NJ, Dr. Ashok Chaudhary, followed by a lamp lighting ceremony led by Chief Guest and Guest of Honor, Consul General of India in New York, Binaya Pradhan, Founder Dr. Ashok Chaudhary, Festival Curator Dr. Maya Kulkarni, Festival Advisor Karen Greenspan, Executive Team Members Nutan Dabholkar Kalamdani & Nitin Ashtekar. The lamp lighting ceremony was followed by a speech by the Consul General.

Exec Member Nitin Ashtekar, Dr. Ashok Chaudhary, Consul General Hon. Binaya Pradhan, Exec Member Nutan Kalamdani, Festival Curator Dr. Maya Kulkarni & Advisor Karen Greenspan.

The concept of Nritya Darpan was developed by Dr. Chaudhary to promote exceptionally talented local artists and dance groups. Initiated in 2022, the festival showcases exceptional performing artists from the tri-state area who move beyond the classical Indian dance forms and bring a contemporary vision to their creations.

US based dance companies showcased five high quality dance dramas, each telling a story using unique techniques based on various Indian classical dance forms as well as fusion with tap dancing.

The dance dramas were selected by curators Dr. Maya Kulkarni-Chheda and Karen Greenspan from a large pool of entries across the US.

Dr. Ashok Chaudhary, Isha Chaudhary, Dance Performers of the evening and Dr. Maya Kulkarni

Performers included Shubhamani Chandrasekhar, brought to life the qualities of freedom and self-assurance exemplified by the celestial beings called Apsaras in a duet titled ‘Apsara’ set in Bharatnatyam dance style; Parul Shah performed the piece titled ‘All That Lies’ in Kathak and Contemporary style was a call to reclaim identities that Western constructs have historically defined and controlled.

Vikas Arun and his company Project Convergence, presented ‘Taalam’ (Rhythm), a euphoric union of Bharatnatyam and American tap dance celebrating the universal language of rhythm.

Bharathi Penneswaran, artistic director and co-founder of Aalokam, performed two comedic creations, ‘Chahiti’ and ‘Shadjam’, along with her ensemble. These works blended the narrative aspect of Bharatanatyam with Penneswaran’s bold and playful sense of humor.

Mesma Belsaré created ‘Jatayu’, a work that investigated this cameo character – the king of birds in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The piece was choreographed by the show’s curator Maya Kulkarni in the ‘Shilpanatanam’ genre, a narrative dance form pioneered by Kulkarni that stretches the boundaries of Indian classical forms to non-traditional themes and expressions.

“Meant for a niche audience, this festival enthralled the audience with its spellbinding performances and thought-provoking themes,” organizers said in a press release, adding that the Consul General was full of praise of the entire production.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here