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September 24, 2004 > Akshaya Ganesh: Following in her Mother's Footsteps

Akshaya Ganesh: Following in her Mother's Footsteps

by Arathi Satish

Children sometimes follow in the footsteps of their parents. Akshaya Ganesh proved the point on Saturday, September 25th when, as daughter and student of Indumathy Ganesh, Artistic Director, Nrithyollasa Dance Academy in Fremont, she performed her "arangetram" (a solo Indian Classical Dance debut before other Bay Area dancers, students and the public).

Akshaya, with other Nrithyollasa students, will dance in the forthcoming Dasara (Doll) Festival in Hindu Temple and Community Center, South Bay in Sunnyvale and in Diwali (Festival of Lights) at Shiva-Murugan Temple in Concord. She is also performing in "Building Bridges," a community event at West Valley College, Saratoga, held to understand and celebrate diverse cultures on October 10, 2004.

In addition to her dance prowess, Akshaya, currently a freshman at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont plays soccer and basketball and traveled to Southern California this spring with the South Fremont National Junior Basketball All-Star Team - she hopes to be on the school Junior Varsity this year. Akshaya has also received citizenship and academic achievement awards from Gomes Elementary School and Hopkins Junior High School.

Akshaya's arangetram was the twenty-fifth performed by a student of Nrithyollasa Dance Academy, a significant achievement for the academy and guru Indumathy Ganesh. Even though this was a landmark for Indu as a teacher, it was her first as a mother! Many parents fondly recalled Akshaya, who used to sit on her mother's lap trying to imitate the dance students.

Akshaya started learning Bharatanatyam when she was five years old from her mother and guru Indumathy Ganesh. Jay Ganesh, her father, always encouraged her. Over the years, she has participated in several dance productions including The Splendor of Dance, Divya Nama Anjali (Livermore Temple Fundraiser), Nrithya Mela Ragamalika (Badrikashrama fundraiser), and SIFA25 - Shringara. Akshaya has also regularly participated in community events and won several awards and prizes in local dance competitions. She has performed solo and in a group for Fremont Cultural Arts Council shows.

Akshaya toured and performed in India with other academy dancers in 1998, when she had the opportunity to perform in the diamond jubilee celebrations of Sri Saraswathy Gana Nilayam, Chennai. She has been learning Kathak dancing from the Chhandam School of Dance and has participated in Kuchipudi dance productions, Siva Ganga and Gautam Buddha. She is also learning Carnatic vocal music from Asha Ramesh, Artistic director of Ragamalika.

These are impressive credits for a young woman, yet expectations run high when you are the daughter of the famous dancer, Indumathy Ganesh. Indu has been recognized as a dancer of flawless rhythm and flowing grace who can project various moods powerfully. Apart from her solo concerts, she has choreographed and presented several thematic productions such as Glory of Rama, Bhakthi Shakthi - The Strength of Devotion, Arpana, Dance of Shiva, Shakthi, and Swapna - Dream. She has also collaborated with other dancers in the San Francisco Bay area to choreograph and present fundraisers for the community (In Praise of Giving, The Hero's Journey, Navagraha, Stree Mahima, Abhaya Hasta, Divya Nama Anjali and Shringara). The academy has produced several short and full-length productions for group presentation, including Krishnanjali, Arpana - Tribute to Composers, Nature's Melody, and The Splendour of Dance.

Indumathy started Nrithyollasa Dance Academy in Fremont in 1989 to provide training in Bharathnatyam, including the theoretical aspects and Nattuvangam (dance conducting), and is recognized as one of Bay area's leading artists. She has participated as a soloist in the Asian Pacific Performing Arts Festival, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance festival and collaborated with California Contemporary Dancers to present a series of performances in San Francisco. In 1998, she was awarded the titles of Natya Mayuri, and Lalitha Kala Rathna for her dedication to arts.

Although it is tough to follow Indu's footsteps, Akshaya has started her journey. The word, "Akshaya" means undiminishing, self-renewing and inexhaustible. The young woman Akshaya exhibits all these great characteristics and is now making her own footsteps

For further information on Indian Classical dancing or for information regarding future dance presentations by Nrithyollasa Dance Academy, contact Indumathy Ganesh, Artistic Director, Nrithyollasa Dance Academy, 40176 Lucinda court, Fremont, CA 94539 or phone 510-657-1930 or email iganesh@comcast.net.

 
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