One of the biggest Indian dance performances in the DFW area, hit the stage on September 8th, and lit up the DFW area with its highly charged energy and unique choreography. Classic Bollywood, attracted a jam-packed audience to the Irving Arts Center, over a hundred volunteers, multiple genres of Indian dance, and dancers from all different backgrounds, training and ages. Everyone joined hands to raise funds for Radha Krishna Temple’s charitable initiatives benefitting underprivileged children.
Special honored guest, Swami Mukunananda, founder of Radha Krishna Temple, world renowned spiritual teacher and author, ceremoniously set the stage for the show by lighting the lamp at the altar. The show opened with high energy which intensified. The dancers charged up the audience and carried that high energy all the way to the end, when the dancers were given a roaring standing ovation.
A futuristic robot takes the audience in a journey through time, history and dance. Mrinal Das, who portrayed the robot, revealed “our performance was not just about spectacular entertainment but about education. Be it the young generation of Indians or westerners curious about Indian culture, through visual arts and music, we portrayed the evolution and history of Indian culture”.
“Typically, classical dance productions implement just one form of dance. Here it was really unique because it incorporated 5 different classical forms, mixed with many modern forms, which is really quite rare to see all in one production on stage”, shared Vaishu Rajogopalan, one of the choreographers. “Rarely can anyone enjoy such a colorful, deeply expressive amalgam of Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, and Odissi just from the classical genres alone.”
The Classical Bollywood Show offered much more than just entertaining dance. . Dance connects us to the inner divinity we commonly share and highlights our special oneness through the expression of emotion through movement. The audience took a multi-sensorial journey through the evolution of Indian dance and culture enjoying the rhythms, sights and sounds of colorful folk dance, high energy Bollywood dance, with the influences of modern western music like hip hop, Latin, and more.
This huge production of nearly 100 dancers, a mix of amateur and professionals, wove together a diverse collection of genres, backgrounds, music, and culture, age, costume. Blending together such a variety posed a challenge for the cast, but even the younger cast members recognized its value. The dancers understood that what they give to the audience is more important than what they receive. Harish Venkataraman, a 12 year old cast member noted, “dance is about learning and not all about fame”.
Creating that positive impact on the audience meant more than mere entertainment. Young Harish summarized the entire cast’s passion. “Really it’s not just about merely dancing, it’s about basically having the passion and devotion to dance. Dancing is an energy creator, we all hope to help disadvantaged kids get a good education,” added young Harish.
“All the dancers put their heart and soul into the performance. This intensified the synergy between the audience and the performers”, noted Director Rinku B Das. “The greatest challenge was merging together so many genres of dance, where the audience could enjoy both the accepted richness of classical and beautiful nuances of modern dance. Music and dance can open barriers and we can erase disparities in world. Dance becomes a language of love we can transmit to our audience and beyond to the next generation.”
The positive reverberations of the spirit of service in just 2 short years have already left a mark on the Indian community. From director, choreographers, producers, dancers, stage crew, to the ushers, the entire Classical Bollywood dance production proved to be quite an admirable volunteer effort. Some of the cast commuted from over 1,000 miles away taking time off from their full time jobs and at their own travel expense.
The spirit and dedication of the entire cast shined in the cast’s dazzling performance. Alicia Castrogiovanni, a self-employed dance instructor explained the common motivation. “No one in the cast is earning money for the performance. Collectively, we all have invested hundreds of hours in rehearsals since January to perfect the performance. We do it for our passion for dance and for temple’s great cause. I personally chose to sacrifice other things in my life because it means so much to me to share this joy with others. “
The success of the performance and the passion of so many volunteers speaks volumes about the important role of Radha Krishna Temple in the community. Although the temple opened just 2 years ago, it has fast become both a cultural and spiritual hub for the community. Drawing such wide and talented support from the Dallas community, it’s quite a feat to undertake such big events that require lot of commitment and dedication. However, temple supporters have recognized that the mix of so much devotion and enthusiasm have become the foundation of the rapid growth of the temple. “It’s become our second home. A place where we can relax and recharge, learn about spirituality, and enrich our lives. There are so many uplifting activities to choose from — dance, yoga, public speaking and more … The place is a blessing to the community”, shared Neha Patadia, whose daughter, Siddhi, also participated in the performance.
Enjoy glimpses of the dazzling show here and also check out the video glimpses of Classical Bollywood on Radha Krishna Temple’s FaceBook page! For latest calendar details on temple classes, programs and events, visit the Radha Krishna Temple’s event page and sign up for something uplifting today!