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Kala-Utsav 2015 held in Chicago

Nov 01, 2015

Chicago's Mega Annual Cultural Festival draws huge crowds

KalaUtsavThe Consulate General of India hosted a spectacular cultural event, "Kala-Utsav-2015", in collaboration with twenty six Indian Community Organizations, to promote Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-west, on November 1st, 2015, at Copernicus Center, Chicago. The event provided a platform for over 230 renowned Indian artistes, from across Illinois, Indiana, IOWA, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, to showcase their top-class performances.

The event was inaugurated with the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India followed by singing of the Indian National Anthem by Dr. Narayan Tata and Supriya Rao and the US National Anthem by Dr. Narayan Tata. Over 1500 people, belonging to all nationalities, including a large number of diplomats from different countries and elected officials, attended the event. In his inaugural address the Consul General highlighted the depth and richness of India's cultural heritage, which is more than 5000 years old and mentioned that India's diversity represents its strength. The concept of 'Unity in Diversity' that is found in India is unparalleled in the entire world. Senator Mark Krik sent a special congratulatory message on the occasion.

The festivities began with perfomance of the auspicious "ChendaMelam" by thirteen artistes from the 'Chicago Kalakshetra', which was followed by a string of stunning performances.  The segment dedicated to "Regional Cultural Events" was a rich tribute to cultural diversity of India. Over 65 artists presented seven distinctive dance forms of their respective States. The North Western team presented the high-energy Punjabi folk dance, Bhangra. The team of Rina Thakur from Himachal Pradesh presented the folk dance in the backdrop of a song "Piya Basanti Re". The presentation of team "Ghungru" of Kerala brought together grandeur of Kathakali, grace of Mohiniyattam, elegance of Thirvathirakkali, and a flavor of Murals Arts. Utkala Center for Odissi Dance presented an Odissi composition, Pallavi. Sriranga Dance Academy, Tarana Kathak Dance Academy, and Maharashtra Mandal Chicago presented Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Lavani dance forms, respectively.  

There were six presentations under "Contemporary/Fusion" in which over 50 artists participated. These presentations, which highlighted the pressing societal issues by using the medium of dance, captured hearts of the audience. Kamlesh Patel, a physically challenged dancer and star of a television reality show, presented a dance performance and conveyed a message that determination results in victory over disabilities. The presentation of Soorya Dance School, based on the 'Nirbhaya' case, the horrific gang rape occurred in Delhi, brought the audience to tears and also raised awareness about the importance of women's security. The presentation of Nithyanjali School of Dance revolved around the rhythms in the nature. Aananda Dance Theater presented an innovative piece, "Kaalachakram", which referred to the never-ending cycle of destruction and creation. Bharatam Academy of Dance Arts presented a dance piece that explores the joy of movements set to fusion music. The students of Bollywood Rhythms presented another fusion piece that used loud music and strong dance movements and provided a foot tapping experience to the audience.   Natyarpana School of Dance, Nrithya Bharathi Institute of Dance, Natya Dance Theatre, Noopura Dance Academy, and Nrithya Sangeeth School of Dance presented five Bharatnatyam performances, with about 25 artists, inter alia, in praise of Lord Ganesha and Lord Vishnu. In the Music Performance category, there were five presentations, mostly classical in nature, with over 55 artists, by Rajaveena School of Music, Rama Advanced Music Academy, Veena Gaana School of Music, Ensemble of Raagas, and Manjusha Sangeet Academy. Finally, the journey ended on a pleasant note.

Two hilarious dramas, with 15 actors, "Kanya Daan" and "Political Satire", presented by Dramatech and Mandi Theater Group, respectively, kept the audience rolling into unstoppable spells of laughter.

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