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01/18/2005 08:00:00

Classical Indian Dancers to Perform at Caltech for Relief of Tsunami Victims

PASADENA, Calif.-Three groups of classical Indian dancers will give a public performance at the California Institute of Technology at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, January 23, in the Beckman Auditorium to raise money for the Caltech tsunami relief effort. All proceeds from the recital will be donated to UNICEF, Architecture for Humanity, and Asha for Education for their ongoing work in helping victims of the recent tsunami in Asia.

The concert is titled "Lahari," which is the Sanskrit word for "wave." According to the Caltech organizers, the event is aimed at forging solidarity with the victims as well as helping them materially. The Indian subcontinent was one of the areas hit hard by the tsunami.

Individuals and groups to perform on stage include mother and daughter duo Ramaa and Swetha Bharadvaj; the Arpana Dance Company, led by Ramya Harishankar; and the Shakti Dance Company, led by Viji Prakash.

The program has not been finalized, but preliminary information indicates that the Bharadvajes will perform three works. These include the Varuna Stuthi, a peace prayer to Varuna, the god of rain and water, with lyrics from the Rig Veda; the Ganesa Stuthi, composed by Maharaja Swathi Tirunal of Kerala; and the Moksha, with music composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Ramaa Bharadvaj, who is director of the Angahara Dance Ensemble, is an internationally acclaimed dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She has been listed by the Orange County Register as "one of the most memorable world dance performers." She is currently a member of the dance faculty at UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, Pomona College, and Orange Coast College. Her daughter, Swetha, is also an accomplished dancer and has been performing internationally since the age of 4.

The Arpana Dance Company, based in Southern California, has toured internationally and performed at the Orange County Centennial. The group has done many benefits for organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Children's Hospital of Orange County.

The Caltech event is sponsored by the Organization of Associated Students from the Indian Subcontinent, the Caltech Y, the International Student Programs, the Building Bridges organization, the Caltech Democratic Club, Caltech Student Affairs, and Caltech Graphic Resources. Tickets are available through Caltech Public Events by calling (626) 395-4652. Media wishing to cover the event or interview one of the organizers may make arrangements by calling Caltech Media Relations at (626) 395-3631.


Written by Robert Tindol