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Geet-Rung’s Tenth Annual Recital Celebrated Success, Dance & Music with Spectacular & Educational ‘TAAL!’

By: Mahadev Desai
Pics by Magic Dust Photography

Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music, Atlanta’s premier dance and music academy, presented their spectacular Tenth Annual Dance Concert ‘Taal’ on May 12th at Infinite Energy Theater.

Kathak 'Visharad' students and their moms

Geet-Rung aims to preserve and promote the most ancient classical dance form of India, ‘Kathak’. It focuses on the quality training, and believes in learning and sharing. “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it”. – Margaret Fuller. Therefore, encouraging and motivating the accomplished scholars to inspire the young achievers and help them reach their goals and set an example of dedication, discipline and commitment.

The first segment of the evening presented ‘Taal’ that showcased ‘Kathak’ in it’s most intricate form, which was not only mesmerizing but, educational too to the audience who knew not much about the theme of the evening. Taal in general means Rhythm, which of course is immensely important in Dance. However, in Kathak when Taal is referred, it means the different kind of Taal that students study during their course such as Teen Taal, Jhap Taal, Ek Taal, Rupak, Gaj Jhampa and many more. Students of all ages demonstrated the different Taal with the complex footwork and pieces such as Thaat, Aamad, Paran, Chakardhar Paran, Sada toda, Chakardhar toda, Kavitta, Tihai, Chakardhar tihai etc.

Divya Srivastava, founder and director of Geet-Rung, brilliantly put together technical aspects of Kathak and herself anchored the first half of the evening to make her audience understand the details on each performance and giving them insight into this classical dance form. Emcee of the evening was Shelley Chinnan who greeted the guests with a warm welcome and kept the audience informed and captivated. Divya Srivastava opened the evening with the song on ‘Krishna’ along with her senior students, which was then followed by different group of students at each level of kathak showcasing their skills and levels with various Taals mentioned above. The much applauded was the presentation on ‘Jaipur Gharana & Luckhnow Gharana’ with attention to details on hand movements and footwork, in bright custom done costumes. The performance on Taal ‘Gaj Jhampa’ awed the audience with the level of maturity and perfection. ‘Very well trained students and excellent choreography’ remarked a guest. Parents and audience were left spellbound by the solo performance of Divya who presented the unique ‘Gat bhaav’ (story telling & expressions) on the episode of ‘Sita haran’ from the epic ‘Ramayan’. ‘I have never seen anything like that before’ remarked one and ‘How quickly and with ease were her expressions changing from one character to another from Sita to Lakshman to ten headed monster Ravan, said another.
The first segment ended with the rendention of a mix of songs on Raag ‘Khamaj’ by Singer Pankaj Bhargava accompanied by Shri Anjaneya Sastry on Tabla and Guarav Bhagat on Guitar.

A beautiful 'Deewani Mastani' dance by Geet-Rung students

This was then followed by folk, and Bollywood choreographies. Students of all ages, some as young as four, presented the most peppy and upbeat Bollywood numbers such as ‘Pallo latke’ ‘Swag se Swagat,’ Deewani Mastani’, ‘Chaugada tara’, to name few. Finale set the stage ablaze with the colorful costumes and the brilliant choreography with fast paced moves in circles, influenced by the folk style dances on the mix of ‘Gujrati’ folk based Bollywood songs. The Highlight of the program was the Graduating students of Geet-Rung who accomplished their ‘Kathak Visharad’ and received the ‘Visharad’ degree. It was a moment of thrill, ecstasy and excitement for Akshita Sharma, Rani Patel, Reva Sahu and their families when these students received their degrees after the hard work, dedication and commitment of over eleven years.
“To actually see the technicalities of Kathak being performed by our kids was wonderful” according to one of the parent and “To get the basic knowledge of this ancient dance form through audio, visuals and performances in such a short time is totally incredible” according to another parent.

According to one parent “Recital was very well organized, wonderful and delightful as usual. It’s not only an even of entertainment but also an event of learning. It shows that there is a lot of hard work put in by students and Ms. Divya to make this event such a big success.

According to Divya with each year’s recital the student’s caliber is pushed to the next level as she challenges them to perfect more complex choreographies and achieve the set goal by the time of the stage performance.

‘Taal’ was a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as in past, which advances cure and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. At St. Jude no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay. The top fundraisers for St. Jude were Aafreen Anjum, Milee Patel and Aanya Gupta who were given special recognition as ‘Angels’ who brought light in the dark life of children battling cancer.

A classic presentation on Jaipur Gharana & Lucknow Gharana

Geet-Rung also supports another non-profit organization called Ekal Vidyalaya and has been organizing Fundraisers for them for past few years. Shiv Aggarwal of Ekal, Atlanta chapter, explained the mission of ‘Ekal’ in running one-teacher schools in rural India for only $365 a year! According to Divya Srivastava, “I want all my students to understand the importance of community service and how they can use their talent to help others in need. This not only teaches them great values of life but also gives them self-confidence, motivation as well as volunteering and leadership skills.”
Guest speaker of the evening Nazeera Dawood briefed the audience about her community forum Chai & Just Chat which is designed to encourage discussion on varied topics for the life and health of a person/family.
Nazeera Dawood is currently the CEO of Nazeera LLC & President of Vendorship Inc. which help industries strategize to secure funding from the government sector. Nazeera is the former Chief of Staff for the Office of the Chairman, Fulton County Board of Commissioners. She also shared her passion for learning ‘Kathak’ with audience and the beginning of her this new journey with Divya.
The audience was also addressed by Manoj Barot, of Narayan Seva Sansthan USA.

It was a wonderful production, well executed by Divya, her skilled students and efficient team of Event Manager Shweta Dubey, the Stage/lights coordinator Komal Patel and other volunteers Sejal Viradia, Shital Shah, Anar Sharma, Varsha Ariyakula. Shelly Chinnan ably emceed the show.
‘Taal’ left the audience cheering, and applauding to the very end.

For more information on the school please visit www.geetrung.com


' May-21-2019