Sydney performers shine at an Indian Cultural festival in the country-town of Armidale
The small Indian community in Armidale (a country town situated halfway between Sydney and Brisbane) celebrated its 3rd annual Indian cultural festival. Two classical dancers from Sydney, Malavika Srinath and Aneesha Ramani, were invited to perform at the event. The 250 plus audience (of which almost 90% were non-Indians) was mesmerized with their brilliant performances. Malavika is a senior student of Bharatnatyam at the NrityaGriha School of Classical Dance in Sydney and has been performing regularly for various organizations in Sydney, Canberra and Bangalore (India). Aneesha is an Odissi Dancer trained under the guidance of famous Odissi guru Jhelum Paranjpe She is also a part of smitalaya dance troop and has performed at a wide variety of cultuatl events in India and Australia (Sydney).
Malavika performed three dances. First was the Ganesha Kowuthuvam (a prayer to Lord Ganesha, the elephant faced lord and the remover of obstacles. This item was a fast-paced invocatory dance where the dancer offers her prayers to the Lord Ganesha and seeks his blessings to make the event a success. The second performance was that of Jaganmohanane Krishna where the poet narrates stories where he marvels at Lord Krishna’s antics and pranks. With her brilliant poses and foot-tapping work she had cast a wonderful spell on the audience that was almost glued to her dance movements.
Aneesha began her Odissi dance with a performance called Tolagi representing the love between Lord Krishna and his lover Radha. She infused her portrayal of the story of Dashavatara, the ten incarnations of God Vishnu, with slow movements that later followed into fast rhythmic movements. She also presented a semi-classical version of Odissi on a Bollywood song. An all-rounder, Aneesha also performed a fusion of three songs from Bollywood in the typical energetic Bollywood style. The mix of Bharatanatyam dance style with Odissi kept the audience engaged.
While these performances were the centre of the event, local talented girls in Armidale provided the much needed exuberance and charm of the Bollywood dances. Another big draw was the Bhangra performance by students from Woolgoolga (Coffs Harbour).
All these performances stimulated the interest of the audience as they joined in dancing. The local Indian restaurant Ind-Oz Food store catered with mouth-watering Indian cuisine bringing a happy end to a wonderful evening. Dr. Kiran Shinde, president of the Association, thanked all members of the Indian community in organizing the event and the audience for their support, in particular Honorable Richard Torbay, Member of Parliament for New England and Speaker of New South Wales Parliament and Peter Ducat, the mayor of Armidale. The evening was truly a great effort towards promoting Indian culture and appreciation of multiculturalism in the regional areas of Australia.