Kala-Utsav celebrates Indian cultural heritage

Kala-Utsav guests and artists along with CG Bhushan singing national Indian anthem on the stage
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Kala-Utsav guests and artists along with CG Bhushan singing national Indian anthem on the stage

CHICAGO: The Consulate General of India organized the fourth edition of “Kala-Utsav” the Annual Cultural Festival on August 26 at Yellow Box, Naperville with 19 different Indian cultural organizations to promote the rich heritage of Indian art and culture in the US Mid-west.

The event provided a platform for over 200 renowned as well as new Indian artists from across the US Midwest to showcase their talents through various performances.

Over 700 people comprising the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups, attended the event.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was the Chief Guest and Juan Ochoa, Special Advisor to Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel and Board of Director of MPEA [Metropolitan Exposition Authority] was the Special Guest on the occasion.The festival was inaugurated by Consul General of India, Ms. Neeta Bhushan, along with the guests, prominent community leaders and volunteers. This was followed by the Indian and US National Anthems.

In her inaugural address, CG Ms. Neeta Bhushan talked about the ancient, rich and diverse culture of India.She added that the objective of the annual ‘Kala-Utsav’ festival, which was launched by the consulate in August 2014, is not only to encourage and showcase the extraordinary talents in the Indian-American community but also to reiterate and celebrate India’s unity in diversity.

Raja Krishnamoorthi appreciated the efforts in providing a platform for showcasing India’s various folks and classical dance forms as well rich musical tradition through the local talents.

The function started with a stunning performance of “Chenda Melam” by the Chicago Kalashetra which is the best known and most popular kshetramvadyam (temple percussion) genre followed by a sequence of captivating dance performances representing the classical, folk and modern dance forms of India from different dance schools.

The classical dance segment included Kathak performances presented by Anila Sinha Foundation, Bharatnatyam performance presented by Natya Dance School, Kuchupudi by Nrityamala Dance Academy, Odissi dance presented by Utkalaa Dance Group, Adardhnareshwar by Rina Rockers, Jugalbandi and Bharatnatyam by Yakshagana from Indiana.

The folk dance segment was quite large. There were six folk dances representing six States of India. The Bengali folk dance presented by Jhankaar Dance, Shingari Dance School presented Kerala Folk Dance, Rhythms & Grace Dance Studio presented Rajasthani folk dance, the Assam Association of Greater Chicago presented Assam’s folk dance and high energy Punjabi folk dance “Gidda” was performed by Bollywood Dance Academy. The performance of “Garba”, Gujarati folk dance by MAFS Seniors Dance Group enthralled the audience.

The kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun also participated and performed in the festival.
There were four presentations under the Contemporary/Fusion dance category in which over 25 artists participated. The presentation ‘Rain, Drought & Flood’ by Soorya Dance School captured the hearts of the audience. “Bollywood Dance” was presented by Bollywood Rhythm and Rhythm of Kerala by Team Ghunguru. Mythilli Dance Academy attempted to keep the flame of vibrancy in the heart by presenting “Parai Drum Dance”.

Lakshmi Parmeswaran and Tanvi Bhatt ably anchored the event as emcees and kept the audience engaged. OP Meena, Consul [HOC], proposed a vote of thanks.

Arvind Patel

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