Carmel Valley kids shine at the Poway Colors of the World dance festival

IMG_0640The San Diego Indian American Society held its 9th Annual Unity in Diversity festival March 18 at the Poway Performing Arts Center. The beauty of this year’s program was in its true implementation of the theme “Unity in Diversity” by expanding outside of its traditional participants.

This annual program traditionally featured dance numbers from various parts of India, however, this year the program incorporated Egyptian dancers and Native American dancers, as well as a Japanese Taiko drum performance.

The show was directed by Ram Seshan and emceed by Monica Zeck from Channel 39. The guest of honor was Gregory Lucier the CEO of Life Technologies. Congressman Bob Filner also graced the event. The program featured a lot of color, energy and talent as both kids and adults show cased their dance moves. Amongst the many performers were several Carmel Valley residents and here are some of the highlights of the festival….

The dance “When Krishna Descends...” done in the classical South Indian Bharatnatyam style featured TPHS 10th grader Priya Garcia as Krishna, Sycamore Ridge 5th grader Anjali Haripriyan as a devotee and King Mahabali, CVMS 7th grader Solana Garcia as a devotee, Vaamana the dwarf, and the snake; and CVMS 7th grade Namrata Sampath as a devotee and the mountain Mudra. This dramatic piece, choreographed by Uma Suresh, Artistik director of Natyapriya dance academy, depicted stories of Lord Krishna as he descends to protect his people.

The number “Naagara Holey Ammaale or Serpent Stream is a tribal dance done by a group of women celebrating and rejoicing life. This happy, light song left the audience smiling. Amongst the women dancing were Carmel Valley residents Kavitha Rao, Nandini Nadig, and Vidya Dixit.

“An Indian Wedding” was a grand piece featuring many dance forms including Kathak, Bollywood, Tap, and Rajasthani Folk. Sycamore Ridge 6th grader Niharika Vattikonda was the bride. Rhea Agarwal (Solana Highlands,), Karishma Shah and Ambika Singh (Solana Pacific), Riya Gandhi from Torrey Hills, Nishita Vattikonda,Sanjana Shrivastav and Neha Pubbi from Sycamore Ridge , and Divya Bhatia from Del Mar Pines, were among the other wedding party dancers.

Egyptian dancers from the Sahar Dance Company grabbed the audience with their Cane dance and their smooth movements. The American Indian dance choreographed by Eric Runningpath entertained the audience with a historical tribal tune. Their intricate American Indian costume with feathers was itself a piece of art. The tribal tune set even today’s modern feet in the audience tapping in unison! Bolly-Fusion rocked the stage with western moves and music inter-twined with Indian dance with some creative stops to switch gears to the western parts of the song.

The Japanese Taiko drums played by San Diego Taiko stole the show with the audience reverberating to its powerful beat. There was strength along with coordination and artistic finesse in their rendition. They performed to a Bollywood number for the show’s grand finale as the performers marched in rows bowing to a standing ovation.

The point of this event to reach out beyond immediate boundaries to promote unity was well received and beautifully conveyed with the support of parents, friends who attended from the San Diego community, the congressman, the guest of honor and the organizers.