Sri Venkateswara Swami temple in Aurora, IL conducted their Annual Dance Festival this past Sunday, November 17th 2019. The festival has been a yearly tradition for the past several years at the Balaji temple and has been known to be the only dance festival in Chicagoland that showcases pure classical Indian dance forms for the entire event. India, a culturally rich and diverse nation has several traditional dance styles across various regions like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Kathak etc., Over 125 performers trained in some of those dance forms from various dance schools in and around Chicagoland including Peoria participated in the event.
The program started with a Solo Bharatanatyam performance by a senior dancer, Hemalatha Vijayakumar who trained in Bangalore, India and is currently residing in Chicago. The solo performance was followed by a couple Bharatanatyam presentations from senior dancers at Noopura Dance Academy and Nrityanant Performing arts who presented a Raagamalika called Nadi – on the 5 major rivers in Maharastra. Dancers from Kuchipudi Natya Vihar and Ananda Dance Theater presented items choreographed by Guru Padmabhushan Dr.Vempati Chinnasatyam in the Kuchipudi dance style. Students of Utkalaa Center of Odissi dance presented a Pallavi-Nritta set in multiple ragas in the Odissi dance style.
Lakshmy Balachandran from Parvathy Dance school presented a Thillana in the Mohiniattam dance form. Dancers from Mythili Dance Academy, Peoria presented a vibrant Thillana with complex Nritta that mesmerized the audience. Shruthi Mothkur of Kuchipudi Natya Vihar presented Shiva Tandava Stotram, a hymn that describes Lord Shiva’s power and beauty. There were several enthralling Bharatanatyam presentations by students of Nrithyanjali School of Dance, Mudra Dance Academy, Nrithya Sangeeth, Nrithya Sanjivini, Kalakriti school of dance and Kalapriya foundation. Dancers from Samskriti foundation presented items from both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dance styles.
The highlight of the program was the featured Bharatanatyam duet by Nandini Bhamidipati and Krithika Varsha students of renowned classical dancer and choreographer Dr.Ananda Shankar Jayant of Shankarananda Kalakshetra, Hyderabad India. Their presentation started with a Pushpanjali, an offering of flowers to the lord and paying the dancer’s respects to the guru, orchestra and the audience. Followed by Shivoham which depicts Lord Shiva and his Consort Shakti as Ardhanarishvara, the form that represents the synthesis of the masculine and feminine energies of the universe and concluded with a brilliant Thillana in the praise of Lord Muruga.
The entire event was a musical and visual treat that captivated and enthralled the audience of all ages. Sri Balaji Temple administration and the Cultural committee finds it to be privilege and an honor to organize such events that help promote and encourage traditional art forms and provide a platform to all the educators and students in the region.