A vision of dance


Before the dance begins, the teenaged performers—one female and three males—walk in a circle, led by their school's headmaster. They pause, lined up near the back curtain, and walk toward the stage's edge. The dancers are orienting themselves to the size of the space—they come from the Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind.

The troupe traveled from Bangalore, India, to International House for Notes of Hope, an August 18 concert put on by Asha for Education, a charitable organization that helps fund the education of underprivileged Indian youth. Started in Berkeley, Asha's U of C branch began in 1996. The dancers learned their classical Indian routines through the academy's "touch and feel" teaching method, in which instructors move students' bodies into positions that the performers commit to memory.

Soliciting Earth's blessing, three dancers begin the program by sprinkling flower petals on the ground for the Pushpanjali. For their second routine, the dancers balance lanterns on outstretched palms. They move into a line and wave their arms, resembling a candelabra come to life. In the third dance, one performer balances a pitcher on his head as he moves. Eventually he climbs atop a plate, jostling it back and forth and spinning in a circle, all without dropping the pitcher. When he finally removes it and bows, the audience loudly applauds. He lowers his head, revealing his damp hair and the smile on his face.

Seth Mayer, '08

Photos: Dancers pose with lanterns; one dancer balances a pitcher filled with water while dancing on a plate.

August 24, 2007