3-day American Natya Festival in St Louis

Students of Soorya dance
Students of Soorya dance

ST LOUIS: Conceived and curated by Soorya Performing Arts, the American Natya Festival is a dance festival of Indian traditional classical & folk dances.

With supporting funds from Missouri Arts Council, a state agency of state of Missouri; Regional Arts Commission of Greater St. Louis area; USWIDE financials, Bright way Insurance, ARC Inc., and other patrons, the festival will be held from April 22- 24. This is conducted in Wydown Middle School auditorium in St. Louis. It provides a reputed, scholarly and popular platform to experienced artists, young innovators and also to new experimentalists.

Organizers say that the teams come from all over USA and also from different countries like India and Canada. In USA the team comes from Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tampa, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas, St Louis. Outside the country, the teams are from Calgary, Canada; Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune from India.

The festival will be inaugurated on Friday April 22. The first performance will be “Sameepyam” presented by Bharatha Darshana dance company from Alpharetta, GA, choreographed by Soujanya Madhusudhan. This will be followed by a presentation from Suryanarayana Murthy, a visiting artist from India presenting “Sandesham”.

The Canadian Bharathanatyam Dancer Malaviya Venkatasubbaiha will present “Lalithyam” followed by the day’s highlight “Karna – Destiny’s Child” – presented by Shree Padma Nrityam Academy, New Jersey, USA, choreographed by Bala Devi Chandrashekar.

All dances on Friday are solo performances. This will highlight the importance of an individualistic achievement.

The Saturday evening starts with a presentation of Navarasa Academy of Tampa, Florida; followed by Anubhava Mantapa of Soorya Dance Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Cleveland’s Shri Kala Mandira presents -Yin Yang – Dimensions of Duality, choreographed by Sujatha Srinivasan.

Visiting team from India, Nupura, will be presenting “Nritya Taranga” choreographed by Dr. Lalitha Srinivasan; followed by “Vibhava” – a modern Bharathanatyam dance performance by Three Aksha Dance Company from Philadelphia. Saturdays’ highlights will be by dancers of Abhinaya School of Performing Arts, Houston, choreographed by Indrani Parthasarathy.

Sunday events present more performances than any other day. It will start with a dance drama by Nrityaarpana School of Cincinnati, choreographed by Anupa Mirle; followed by a solo performance by Asha Adiga from Chicago.

Rudrakasha – a famous dance team from Odissa will be sending its students to present Odissi. A great Kathak master – Guru Prerna Deshpande will be coming from India, presenting graceful Kathak dances.

Soorya Dance Company will present Parabhakti, a short dance production; followed by Nritya Vaibhavam presented by Sri Nrithyanjali School of Dance, Chicago, IL, USA; choreographed by Sushmitha. Guru Sujatha Vinjamuri of St. Louis will present “Kundalini” with Kuchipudi Arts Academy.

Another dance form – Andhra Natyam will be introduced this time, performed by Nisha’s School of Andhra Natyam, St. Louis, MO and directed by Nisha Magaluru.

Parthiba Mannil will present Bharathanatyam from her school – Natya Padhanjali School of Dance. The last part of the dance festival will be a celebration of folk dances of India such as Bhangra, Raas, Garha.
There will be a new national wide Indian classical dance festival called American Natya Idol

Competition, conducted for students of ages 9 – 30. It will be on Saturday, April 23 from 8:30 am till 3:30 pm. It is first of its kind in the entire country because each student must face 12 judges at the same time on the panel. These judges hail from different countries and different regions of USA. The winner will get special prizes and also an opportunity to perform in India.

This year’s Life Time Achievement Award will be given to Guru Revathi Satyu, Guru Lalitha Srinivasan and Guru Asha Prem.

Suri Swamy

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