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March 13, 2018 > Youthsava embraces celebration of cultural identity

Youthsava embraces celebration of cultural identity

By Zoya Hajee

Eleven years ago, the India Community Center (ICC) created a competition to feature the talents of youth in the Bay Area, using dance as a platform to foster community spirit and provide a deeper understanding of the Indian-American subculture. This annual competition, with its high-energy music and dazzling props and costumes, recognizes the performersÕ interpretation of their culture as they dance to define what it means to be an Indian-American for their generation. Rooted in ICCÕs motto of ÒUnite, Serve, Celebrate,Ó ÒYouthsavaÓ allows children to showcase festive dance performances while presenting the audience with a connection to rich Indian culture and heritage.

On Saturday, March 17, the India Community Center in Milpitas will hold anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 performers ages four through eighteen. The 12-hour long competition is comprised of four performance categories: Folk, Film, Remix, and a new addition called DirectorÕs Choice. Folk dance will consist of performances in South Asian folk or tribal costumes, and the music will be accompanied by folk beats in any language. In the film category, performers will dance to a song from Indian cinema, while the Remix category is a medley of any number of songs. Finally, in DirectorÕs Choice, the dance performances will convey the directorÕs vision and inspiration by incorporating one of the various themes provided, which include ÒGirl Child,Ó ÒFive ElementsÓ (Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Spirit), and ÒDisco Through the Ages.Ó Judging is based on how well the director and performers interpret the chosen theme through their dance.

ICC staff member Neena Jain expressed her ambitions for the event, stating, ÒAs a [part of the] youth programs team at ICC, we are always striving to bring our talented kids visibility, and this provides a great forum for this goal.Ó Over the years, Youthsava has established a welcoming image, brimming with positivity and inclusiveness to connect with people from various racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. It has progressed into a signature event in the Bay Area that provides youth with a chance to develop passions for dance, and by enforcing a support system for youth across multiple age groups, Youthsava has gained immense popularity. ÒIt is an event which brings people in the community together and supports the youth,Ó said Jain. ÒWe are very proud of that.Ó

The name Youthsava is based on the Sanskrit word ustava, meaning celebration. This celebration embodies the liveliness of Indian-American culture and embraces the values of unity that communities everywhere strive to achieve. The competition celebrates dance, culture, and heritage. Most of all, it celebrates the ability to provide youth with the power of expressing their identity.

Saturday, Mar 17
9 a.m. Ð 9 p.m.
India Community Center
525 Los Coches St, Milpitas
(408) 934-1130 Ext. 262
Tickets: $15 Ð $30

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