Showing Indian culture: A cultural dance performance

By Shawn O’Dell in Arts & Entertainment

November 10, 2011

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

Lock Haven—Lock Haven University’s Institute for International Studies will begin celebrating International Education Week at the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center on Monday, November 14 at 5.00 p.m. with a performance of Classical Indian Dance performed by Shoba and Kayal Kumar of Selinsgrove, Pa. The rhythms of the Mridangam drum and the light flowing sound of the Venu flute, together with elaborate costumes and the classical dances of Southern India, combine to make a breath-taking performance. This event is free and open to the public.

Kayal will perform Bharathanatyam, one of the oldest dances in India composed of mime, melodic music, vibrant costumes, and jewelry. The dance originates from Tamil Nadu State. It is a very demanding dance which incorporates purity and tenderness with sculpture-like poses where the body is visualized as made of triangles. The dance is based on heroic poems using a slow tempo to portray the moods and emotions of love. Kayal says, “The styles are very difficult to learn, and there are so many new forms we keep learning.”

Shoba will perform the dance of the enchantress, the Mohiniyattam, which is a classical dance form of the Kerala region. This dance is known for its wide swinging steps and side to side torso movements. It is historically recognized as a temple dance, in which a maiden steals the hearts of her onlookers and portrays feminine love in the forms of carnal, devotional, and maternal emotions. This sensual style of dance incorporates beautiful gestures and footwork along with rhythmic patterned vocal accompaniment. People will delight in the beauty and grace of these

ancient dances as well as enjoy learning the history and culture of her native land. “It’s not only an amazing show, it’s also educational,” said Shoba. The audience will be treated to an insightful view of the history and meaning of these ancient dances and unique instruments and will gain a fuller understanding of the rich culture of India.

Shoba is an accomplished dancer having won many awards and competitions. She is skilled in a variety of Indian dances including Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, and folk. She doesn’t have a favorite dance style but enjoys each piece for its own beauty. Kayal is also an accomplished dancer and has given many performances.

“I feel a lot of people in this are not exposed to this kind of culture. I want to create awareness about India, where it is, and the culture.” said Shoba.

For more information about this event, contact Trachanda Brown at tbrown@lhup.edu.

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