Urja: Festive zeal of India

September 18, 2005 

The India Culture Nite presented by Association of Students from India (ASI) and sponsored by Lively Art Series, Memorial Union at NDSU showcased the festive zeal of India at the Festival Concert Hall on September 10, 2005 at 6pm.

Iman Gunasekara and Kim Haiman, from Lively Arts Series provided this rare opportunity to a student organization for the first time. Association of Students from India at NDSU has about 200 students and 28 faculties. The ASI executive committee of 2004-2005, headed by Prashanth Balakrishnan (President), has been very active in promoting India’s firmly entrenched culture on-campus. 

India’s artistic traditions are rich in diversity of languages, customs, cuisines, religions, literature and arts. Festivals in India are commemorated with great passion and enthusiasm, seemingly as a celebration of life itself. Urja portrayed a contemporary take on the long pageant of these festivals through enchanting dances, vivacious music and urban flair. 

The stage displayed a fiesta of color and gaiety through the grand sets and lights designed by Aditi Hirani, the faculty advisor to ASI. The dazzling attires of the vibrant dancers dancing to the beats of native music and their ankle bells lit the atmosphere with excitement and pride. 

The essence of choreography set by Febina Mathew on semi-classical Indian music was a pragmatic pattern of Bharatanatyam’s core characteristics and dance movements from Odissi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam, to lend spirit to the artistic expression. Colorful folk dances of Dandia and Bhangra, choreographed by Adeeti Katti and Riya Sharma respectively portrayed the chirpy moments during the festive season of Navaratri and Bhangra. Impressive vocals from Jyoti Iyer, Gayatri Mahalingam, Raksha Harikrishnan and Ananya Sen presented the epitome of India’s music tradition. 

The audience witnessed major festivals from India such as Holi, Baisakhi, Onam, Navaratri, Durga Puja, Diwali, Eid, Christmas and New Year. The rich traditions and legends of these festivals came alive through the tales by Nipun Choudhary and Vijay Dandamudi, the Masters of Ceremony for the event. The evening ended with delicious traditional Indian snacks from Saffron Cuisine, South Fargo. 

The artistes and volunteers are appreciated for their commitment and contribution to the concept of Urja, where acoustics and lights by Festival Concert Hall crew were ideal. The audience was captive and the performers charming, making it an enjoyable evening.