A celebration of commitment 
October 16, 2007 

On 29th September evening, a Manchester based Indian group, Upasana headed by Deepa Ganesh, celebrated its third birthday at Waterside Arts centre.  It was heartening to see the smiles and appreciation with which the audience returned after the 2 hour show. 
Across training levels, from 4 year olds to adults, what was common in this group of 25, all students of Upasana, was the passion and commitment to their art.  The Indian ethos tied the program together from Surya Namaskar to a scintillating varnam briskly performed by Vaishnavi, Nivedita, Aashana and Sonalia. 

The highlight of the evening was Pinnal Kollattam, a first time treat in the UK! From the 8 to 28 year old, this piece showcased uncompromised focus, practise and team spirit. Pinnal Kollattam is an old, traditional folk dance from the villages of Tamil Nadu in South India. This particular choreography, which has been performed for more than four generations without any change, demands technical excellence and team spirit. It also establishes the philosophy that on each occasion, we have to reach the standards of excellence with untainted focus and commitment. 

Bringing forth experience and dedication was Deepa's excerpt from Shashwat which culminated the evening in a reflective performance of Bhaja Govindam.  

Vaishnavi, Nivedita, 
Aashana and Sonalia 
Photo: Joel Fides
1st Row: Savita, Mihika, Anuradha and Nuvpreet. 
2nd Row: Suditi, Ruwa, Varshini and Sarnav. 
Photo: Stanley
The evening served both - the artistes who reaped the reward of discipline, commitment and hard work and the audience who enjoyed a mystical culture in their own terms.  Indeed it was Utsav....a celebration!!  

Deepa Ganesh, Upasana's Artistic Director, has more than 25 years of experience in Bharatanatyam, a keen ear for music, an impeccable sense of timing and a deep interest in Indian culture. "After coming to the UK, in three years I have learnt the value of just being better than what one was. I realize that way not only is unhealthy pressure off our shoulders, we are permanently in a journey of self actualisation through improvement.  In very many ways, ours was similar to the annual showcase of  many groups around the world the recognition of a journey of each student, an evening for all to stop turn back and see the road taken, a moment of  sharing and celebrating with friends and family a moment of pride and achievement. However there is a certain level of professionalism in anything and everything which not only do I aspire but try to inspire in every participant. This is the mantra I have learnt from my own gurus Adyar Lakshman and Kalanidhi Narayanan," says Deepa.  

Upasana has to its credit: First matinee of an Indian theatre specifically for schools 2007, and First Indian Theatre in Manchester International Festival 2007.  Utsav, is funded by Community Network for Manchester and empowered by PANDA, A celebration of dance and the communities' efforts to reflect and explore Indian culture.