Choreographer Raksha Dave, one of only a handful of teachers in Michigan specializing in the Indian classical dance-drama known as Nritya, had her students performing up a storm on April 13, 2008, at the Clawson Performing Arts Center—an ideal venue for such events.  The afternoon’s program spanned the Indian sub-continent, with traditional offerings from the north and the south, and included dancers of all ages, from pre-schoolers, who tackled their first time on stage with all the requisite butterflies and stammers, to veteran dancers, who strutted the boards with aplomb.  In the end, all worked out perfectly, and the largely Indian American audience was clearly enthralled.

Although many of these dances may have been familiar in style, Raksha Dave’s interpretations and modifications made the event a truly noteworthy experience.

India, of course, has a rich tradition of classical dances, and the involvement of youngsters in stagecraft from a very early age is one of the key components of cultural identity among this community.  The enthusiasm with which the performances unfold and the fascinating ‘stories’ told in song and movement make viewing these dances a wonder for non-Indians as well.

Following a moving Nartan Prayer by Nisha Gerg, fourteen separate performances drew applause and delight throughout the afternoon.





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