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April 11, 2017 > Dance competition connects community with culture

Dance competition connects community with culture

By Toshali Goel

India Community Center (ICC) in Milpitas is hosting the ÒYouthsava Dance CompetitionÓ for the 15th year. The ICC is a non-profit organization, aiming to promote Indian culture through various events that serve and entertain the community. Youthsava is one such event, celebrating the essence of Indian culture through a prominent part of its history Ð dance.

The diversity and number of different communities in India gave way to several regionally developed dance forms. Most dances in India originated from spirituality and the expression of reverence to the Gods. Indian dances can be traced back to ancient times, with texts by sages Panini and Bharata mentioning dance rituals. The most well maintained text focused on dance and the arts in India is the ÒNatya Shastra,Ó estimated to be written between 500 BC to 500 CE. Most classical Indian dance forms have stemmed from the ÒNatya Shastra.Ó There are eight dance forms which are commonly considered ÒclassicalÓ today: Bharatanatyam, originating in Tamil Nadu; Kathak, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, originating in Kerala; Kuchipudi, originating in Andhra Pradesh; Odissi, originating in Odisha; Manipuri, originating in Manipur; and Sattriya, originating in Assam. Aside from the various classical dances, there are also a number of folk dances. These are dances that originated from assorted rural areas, and not necessarily with a spiritual intent. These dances could be used to express daily life and culture of a particular region. Dance in India today has evolved and broadened to include more modern styles, such as ÒBollywood,Ó inspired by the energetic dance steps in Indian cinema.

Youthsava will be honoring the tradition of dance in Indian culture through its spirited competition for members of the community to demonstrate their talent. Event organizer Neena Jain said, ÒYouthsava is our signature dance event. It is 10 plus years old. It is named after the Sanskrit word ÔutsavaÕ meaning celebration. ItÕs a fun, high energy dance gala, and provides a platform to the youth of ages 4 Ð 18 years to showcase dancing talent, and connects the participants and the audience to Indian culture and heritage.Ó

This year 75 Ð 90 teams will be taking part in the competition. Groups will consist of 6 Ð 18 dancers each, and performances cannot exceed seven minutes. There will be three categories of dance: Film, where dancers will perform to a song from Indian cinema; Folk, where dancers will perform in folk or tribal costume to a folk song of any language; and Remix, where the performers will dance to a remixed version of a song from Indian cinema or an original medley. Performance groups will be further divided into three age classes, and trophies and medals will be awarded to the top three groups in each age class of each performance style.

Though the event is a competition, the ultimate goal is to bring people together by connecting them to their roots, heritage, and community. ÒIt allows the community to come together and support the youth and its great to see all the kids of different age groups,Ó said Jain. ÒThe aim is to showcase the talents of the kids and encourage them and support them.Ó

Saturday, Apr 15
9 a.m. Ð 10 p.m.
India Community Center
525 Los Coches St, Milpitas
(408) 934-1130
Tickets: $25 adults, $10 children (3-12 yrs.)

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