Desi Talk - page 15

May 27, 2016
– that’s all you need to know
By Urvashi Verma
ore than 300 mem-
bers of the
Chicagoland commu-
nity attended the
original dance drama
titled “Rama –Eshwara at the
Schaumburg Prairie Center of
Arts, in Schaumburg Ill. May 15.
The epic event was organized and
performed by the Acharya
Performing Arts Academy, and a
newly-formed nonprofit Nupura
Geetha which spreads Indian cul-
ture through production of the-
atrical performances.
The feature performance titled
“Rama-Eshwara” depicted the
saga of the rise and fall of Ravana
in dance form. The founder of the
academy, Vidushi Asha Acharya
Adiga, choreographed and direct-
ed the play while also playing the
role of the chief character
Ravana. She beautifully depicted
the complex emotions of the
character through skillful display
of Bharatanatyam dance.
Several dance academies
across the Midwest participated
in the program, which com-
menced with music students of
the Performing Arts Academy
singing Ganesh Vandana, fol-
lowed by a splendid Kathak per-
formance by Guru Prasanna
Kasthuri of Soorya Performing
Arts from St. Louis and a unique
Yakshagana dance performance
by Rajendra Kedlaya and his team
fromYakshahejje School of
Yakshagana and Performing Arts
in Indianapolis.
The dance drama “Rama-
Eshwara” which was the feature
performance began with Lord
Shiva narrating the story of his
greatest devotee, Ravana.
Ravana, who is the son of Sage
Vaishrava and the demon
princess Kaikeshi, was a great
scholar, capable ruler and adept
in the Vedas.
But due to his desire to defeat
Devas, he fell prey to bad quali-
ties such as lust, greed, pride, and
envy and made the world suffer.
To save the world, Lord Vishnu
and Goddess Lakshmi took
avathara as Rama and Sita. These
events were brought to life
through creative choreography
performed by the gifted dancers.
The performance featured several
events from the epic Ramayana,
culminating with the final war
where Rama kills Ravana.
The creative choreography was
ably supported by the splendid
choice of costumes and props
such as Pushpaka Vimana and
the dance drama was accompa-
nied by a live music performance
by singers Madhu
Chandrasekaran and Seema
Kasturi with Srinivas Magaraja
Rao on mridangam, Neela
Amaravadi on veena, Prashanth
Kallur on flute and Muralidhar
Kaje on chande.
The academy’s artistic director
Vidushi Asha reaffirmed her com-
mitment to continue to spread
the rich culture of India through
classical dance and music.
Nupura- Geetha, Inc. is a non-
profit organization for art and
It was newly established to
realize a creative vision of pre-
senting performing arts of India
though performances and pro-
ductions and to share and spread
the Indian culture.
‘Rama-Eshwara’ Dance Drama Depicts The Story of Ramayana
‘Eye On India’ Gala To Offer Sneak Peek Of Upcoming Festival
By Urvashi Verma
he ‘Eye on India’ festival,
which showcases world-
class contemporary and
traditional Indian arts and cul-
ture, will host its annual gala
June 9 at the Bridgeport Arts
Center, 1200W. 35th St. from 7
to 10 p.m.
The evening offers a sneak
peek of the upcoming distin-
guished performances and pro-
grams for the upcoming 6th
annual festival, which will take
place Sept. 17 – Oct. 2.
Gala patrons will experience
a scintillating evening of fash-
ion, food, dance performances
and music and Eye on India will
honor the 2016 Cultural
Connection Awardees, Ralph
Nicholas and his wife Marta
Nicholas, for their support in
forging deeper cultural
exchange and partnership
between the U.S. and India.
The gala features perform-
ances by the critically-
acclaimed Natya Dance Theatre,
choreographed by artistic direc-
tor Hema Rajagopalan and
musical performance by blind
15-year-old Chicago High
School for the Arts student and
gifted pianist Rupa Elizabeth
Sprecher. Born in Bangalore,
Sprecher has been blind since
birth and has won numerous
competitions and awards
including an Achievement
Award from the Illinois Summer
Youth Music Jazz Camp at the
University of Illinois, Urbana.
“We really wanted to feature
Rupa because she truly exem-
plifies the spirit of mainstream
cultural exchange between
Chicago and India -- what Eye
on India is all about – and that
there are extremely gifted artists
in our own backyard who we
need to feature prominently”,
said Anuradha Behari, Eye on
India founder and president.
Gala attendees will also enjoy
the fashion show “Sari Project”,
a collaboration between Eye on
India and the fashion students
and faculty from Columbia
College, Chicago. Four of the
strongest pieces from 20
advanced students, who partici-
pated in the project, will be
modeled at the gala. Guests will
be treated with an exclusive
video preview of the 2016
“Eye on India has become an
essential platform for present-
ing the best in contemporary
Indian art and culture and a
means of forging cross-cultural
connections between India and
Chicago,” said Behari. “This year
we are pleased to announce
new community outreach
efforts to further strengthen
those bridges of understanding
between the United States and
India. Several of our visiting
artists will lead workshops at
schools, universities and non-
profits as another way to con-
nect with the greater Chicago
community and the world.
Funds raised at our gala will
help support this new initia-
tive,” she said.
Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas, who
will be awarded the Cultural
Connection Award, have sup-
ported Eye on India and are
committed to forging a stronger
partnerships between Chicago
and India.
Ralph Nicholas is the profes-
sor emeritus at the University of
Chicago’s Anthropology and
Social Sciences department and
chair of the Board of Trustees of
the American Institute of Indian
Studies. His research has
focused on South Asian soci-
eties with an emphasis on
Bengal and studies religion,
including Hindu rites, middle
period Bengali narrative and the
relationship between Hinduism
and Islam.
His wife, Marta Nicholas
hosts the radio program “Music
Around theWorld” broadcast on
WHPK (University of Chicago).
Food stations at the event
will allow guests to sample cui-
sine from different regions in
India, including the Delhi street
food, Jama Masjid Muglai Food,
Punjabi street food, and
Delicacies from South India.
Tickets to the Eye on India
2016 Gala are $150. For addi-
tional information and to pur-
chase tickets visit
Eye on India Festival has
hosted over 75 events in part-
nership with local and interna-
tional cultural, educational,
civic and South Asian commu-
nity organizations, establishing
itself as the leading platform for
Indian programming in
Chicago’s diverse cultural calen-
dar. For more information visit
Above, from left, Sanjoy Roy,
founder of Teamworks; Karim
Ahamed, 2015 Gala Committee
member; John Green Eye on India
Cultural Ambassador award recipient
and Anuradha Behari, founder of Eye
on India, at the 5th Annual Eye on
India Gala in June 2015. Left, 15
year old ChiArts student pianist Rupa
Elizabeth Sprecher who will perform
several pieces including works by
Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Alissa
Milne,Louis Kohler at the 6th Annual
Eye on India Gala June 9.
Vidushi Asha, director
of Nupura Geetha,
playing the role of
Ravana at the “Rama
Eshwara” dance
at Schaumburg Prairie
Arts Center on May
15, in Schaumburg
Illinois. Right,
participants in the
“Rama Eshwara”
dance performance.
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