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Dancers for Difference bring hope through dance

By Zarrin Ahmed
On February 14, 2013

This Friday, UConn's Surya will host their annual charity show at the Jorgensen, now renamed "Dancers for Difference" because the proceeds will go to a charity of the community's choosing.
Aware that there are new causes that could benefit from donations, the group considered multiple charities to donate money to from the event. To expand the abilities of their show and beyond the Save Darfur Coalition, Surya invites everyone to a voting process to select a charity for which all the proceeds will go to.
Besides Surya, other teams from UConn and around the region will be performing that night, including Dhadak Fusion, BU Dheem, Boston Garba, Husky Bhangra, Brown Badmaash, UC Thunderaas, BC Masti and Anakh-E-Gabroo. Surya is a 22- member South Asian student fusion dance club whose choreography represents an inspiration of classical dance and modern beats in a style that epitomizes "East meets West."
Two styles that they incorporate are the Bharata Natyam and the Kathak. The former is one of the oldest classical forms of dance in India, dating back over 2000 years ago and originating in Tamil Nadu. It is believed to have been revealed by the Hindu God Brahma to Bharata, who summarized the form in the Sanskrit manuscript Natya Shastra. The dance was originally considered a religious offering to the gods and done by women in the temple. Before beginning the dance, members would pray to the mother earth and apologize for stomping on the ground. Though it was repressed during the British occupation of India, it was revived by nationalists seeking to embrace India's unique cultural heritage. As a popular dance form now, there is often fusion between this style and Western dances like ballet and jazz.
The Kathak originates back to the ancient nomadic tribes of Northern India, known as the storytellers. Recounting tales from the scriptures, they performed in village squares and temple courtyards, embellishing the stories with hand gestures and facial expressions. The form become a sophisticated chamber art, with its practitioners working at refining dramatic and rhythmic aspects. It's characterized today by fast rhythmic footwork including numerous pirouettes and statuesque poses. Lucknow, Banaras and jaipus are three schools where this art is nurtured and refined to a high standard.
Look out for these styles and more, including Western styles and music, at the show on Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for UConn students.

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