FTV News, Connecticut: Soortal of Connecticut celebrated their 8th Natya Tarang Festival with some renowned artists. Anindita Nanda, the graceful Odissi dancer, and founder of Soortal said that her dream is to bring a variety of art forms and renowned artists to the State of Connecticut each year. “We have been hosting this festival each year for the last eight years. We see a lot of large festivals being held in Boston and New York and we always have to travel such distances to be able to experience the beauty of these festivals. We started Natya Tarang with the intent to present all these inspiring artists to our audiences right here in Connecticut. We are blessed and privileged to have amazing artists join us each year. This year again we have Guru Rahul Acharya who always travels from India to be part of this annual festival. Along with him we also have Abhik Mukherjee, a Kolkata-born sitar player and Shankhachur Lahiri, a very accomplished Tabla Player.”
Anindita Nanda, a danseuse par excellence is a rare combination of dancer, classical vocalist, choreographer, teacher & scholar. She has a Masters in Indian Classical Dance and is the recipient of several awards like “Nritya Shree”,”Nritya Visharad” and “Nritya Praveen” in India.She was the recipient of Junior and Senior Scholarship from Dept. of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India, the “Human Greatness Award” from the Mayor of the city of Danbury and was nominated for “New England Women of the Year Award” for her community outreach program and relentless work in the field of classical arts. She heads several Indian cultural organizations’s and at present serves at the cultural chair. She was recently invited by the Indian Embassy to open for the Festival of India, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has also performed in Germany. She is the founder and director of her creative venture, Soortaal, which is a platform to teach and propagate Odissi dance and North Indian vocal. Anindita is the founder director of this NTFA, which was started in 2011. She also heads a Classical Dance School in Reno, Nevada in addition has much collaboration with Dance schools in Argentina, where she teaches several full time Programs in Dance Education.
Just at the mention of Odissi, lyrical and flowing movements and statuesque poses come to one’s mind. Odissi, one of the 8 Indian classical dance form from India, hails from the Eastern state of Odisha, and like any other Indian classical dance, was initially performed in the temples as a religious offering by the ‘Maharis’ or the temple dancers who dedicated their lives in the services of God. It has the closer resemblance with sculptures of the Indian Temples. It is rightly said that ‘whether the dance is inspired by the chiseled beauty of the temple sculptures or the sculptures depict the dance is a conundrum’. Odissi appears to be the oldest classical dance rooted in rituals and tradition. The history of Odissi dance has been traced to an early sculpture found in the Ranigumpha caves at Udaygiri(Orissa, India) dating to the 2nd century BC. Odissi gives the impression of a soft lyrical style, highly sensuous in form but it is rigorous and challenging to execute with control and precision. The balance of stasis and dynamics is at the core of this style as others. Most of the abhinaya or lyrical compositions are based on the Radha-Krishna theme. The Astapadis of the kãvya ‘Gita Govinda’ written by the Saint Jayadev are an integral part of its repertoire.
Rahul Acharya is one of the most loved and opular Odissi soloist in the International arena. Rahul mesmerized audiences with his dance during the Natya Tarang festival. Since the age of 4, Rahul has been training under Guru Durga Charan Ranbir in Orissa. He tours the world extensive and trained in Hatha and Raja Yoga. He is an Empanelled Artist of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, honorary member of Sacred Dance Guild,USA, Member of the International Dance Council, CID,
UNESCO; Member of the World Movement for Indian Fine Arts, Italy. He is the recipient of Aditya Birla Award, Bismillah Khan, RamGopal Best Male Dancer Award, among others. He was recently awarded the distinguihed artist award from the United States Congress
Abhik Mukherjee is a Kolkata-born sitar player of the Etawah-Imdadkhani gharana. He was initiated to sitar at the age of six by his father. He has since taken talim from Pandit Arvind Parikh and Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee.He is a gold medalist in musicology from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, and has also received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, India.He has performed in ten countries on four continents. Some memorable concerts include performances for the inauguration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial (Washington D.C.); at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City); at the Indian Habitat Center (Delhi); on Doordarshan (Kolkata.Abhik currently lives in New York City and is a founding member of Brooklyn Raga Massive, an Indian classical music artists’ collective.collective..
Shankhachur Lahiri is a very accomplished Tabla Player or Indian Drum Percussions. He is the founder of the Shruti Foundation in Florida and also taught at the Pandit Jasraj School of Music.
Both Abhik and Shankhachur won the hearts of audience with their classical and inspiring music jugalbandi.