BYy Suresh Bodiwala
Chicago IL: International Ramayana Institute of North America (IRINA), in cooperation with the leading Indian, Indonesian and Thai Dance Drama Academies organized Ramayana Dance Drama at the Rosary High School auditorium in Aurora, Illinois on December 2nd, 2017 from 5:30-8:30 PM. This dance drama was attended by more than 350 persons from various communities that was coordinated by several community leaders-led by Mr. Nand Parkash Garg (president), Dr. Subhash Pandey (past present & Trustees), and Mrs. Rashmi Gandhi (cultural committee, Chair) from American Indian community, Mrs. Chantimar Sriaroon (past president & turstees) and Mrs. Benjamas Pongched (founding president & trustees) from American Thai community, and Mr. I Nyoman Mahartayasa from American Indonesian community.
The program was opened with lamp lighting ceremony by chief guests Ms. Neeta Bhushan, consul general of India and Ms. Rosmalawati Chalid, consul general of Indonesia in Chicago. All office bearers, past presidents, trustees and other guests were also participated in the opening ceremony. This was followed by welcome remarks by Dr. Subhash Pandey, past president and trustees of IRINA. In his remarks, he mentioned that IRINA was founded in Chicago in 2000 with help several dedicated volunteers to facilitate and promote the exchange of the literary, artistic, cultural, educational and scientific aspects of Ramayana epic among different countries worldwide. He also highlighted that IRINA had organized three international Ramayana conferences where Ramayana scholars from more than nine countries participated and presented research work and findings on Ramayana. He emphasized that IRINA is a model for the “Unity in diversity”.
Dr. Pandey then introduced the chief guests Ms. Neeta Bhushan, consul general of India and Ms. Rosmalawati Chalid, consul general of Indonesia and invited them for their remarks. In their remarks, both appreciated the efforts of IRINA for putting together 12th Ramayana dance drama and congratulated office bearers and volunteers of IRINA. Dr. Pandey expressed his special thanks to both consul generals for attending the program. The master of ceremonies was Mrs. Rashmi Gandhi, Ms. Falguni Gandhi, and Mr. Om Dhingra and one by one each program was introduced and explained by them.
Several leading dance directors from India, Indonesia and Thailand communities actively participated and dance drama starting from birth of Rama to Killing of Ravana by Rama was presented by talented dance performers from these communities. It was thrilling to see that more than 100 performers from three communities from Chicago and outside Chicago presented several scenes of Ramayana in the form beautiful dance drama. Before actual program started there was classical musical performance for 30 minutes by several talented artists from the Academy of Thai Classical Music at Wat Dhammaram.This was followed by the presentation of colorful puspanjali dance.
This is a balinese welcoming dance from Indonesia presented by dancers from the Indonesian Performing Arts of Chicago. This year India was a lead country and dancers from Indian Dance School which was choreographed and directed by Mrs. Gauri Jog presented various scenes from birth of Rama, childhood and Sita swayamvar. Mrs. Jog is well accomplished dancer, teacher and her school have performed more than 350 dance shows in North America. The dancers from Srujan dance school presented a lovely “Ghoomar” dance-a traditional folk dance of Rajasthan- in celebration of the wedding of Sita and Ram that was choreographed by Mrs. Swati Shah. After India performances, dancers from Indonesian community presented two dances one led by Mr. Tri Kumara Siddhi from the consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia and other dance-Legong dandaka sari presented by the University of Illinois School of music’s gamelan ensemble.
This dance is conceptualized in the style of legong where four primary dancers elegantly precede an abstract movement following by a depiction of the Ramayana epic (Aranya Kanda). This dance was choreographed by Ms. Putu Oka Mardiani Asnawa and directed by Mr. I Ketut Gede Asnawa. After Indonesian performances, performers from Somapa Thai Dance Company presented very attractive and beautiful Ramayana khon masked dance drama. This was choreographed and directed by Ms. Suteera Nagavajara. This was highly remarkable that dancers for Thai dance visited from Washington DC joined the efforts of IRINA in promoting the artistic aspects of Ramayana epic. The grand finale scene was war between Ram and Ravana presented by Indian dance school where performers from all counties were participated that culminated into a beautiful fusion of characters of Ramayana from each country. This was directed by Mrs. Gauri Jog that was very elegantly presented by the performers.
On behalf of IRINA, Dr. Subhash Pandey presented a formal vote of thanks to all performers, dance directors, choreographers, sponsors and volunteers for their hard work and support for the 12thRamayana Dance Drama. In addition, dance directors and choreographers were recognized and given a flower bouquet as a token of appreciation that was presented by the Consul General of Indonesia Ms. Chalid and Mr. OP Meena, Consul from India consulate General, Chicago. For more information about activities of IRINA please visit webpage-www.ramayanainstitute.com