Group Productions

International Young Performers Tour (2007) (Collaboration)

Creative Connections presented twelve talented 12 to18 year-old Indian dancers from the Dhananjayans' Bharata Kalanjali Academy to the Tri-State area from October 26 - November 11, 2007. With their colorful costumes and jewelry, beautiful music, and vibrant dancing, the troupe transported audiences to their homeland of India, a land rich in culture and traditions.

This children's cultural & Educational delegation was led by Smt.Sumathi Sriram ( The senior most disciple of the Dhananjayans, Bharatakalanjali alumni /teacher) Smt. Divya Sivasundar (Senior disciple of The Dhananjayans and teacher, Bharatakalanjali)

1. YATIN AGARWAL (Guru Anita Guha)
2. GAUTAM GOPALAKRISHNAN (Guru: Hariharan)
3. SACHIN DAMIANOSE (Kalari- Guru:Shaji)
4. HARIGANESH MURALIDHARAN (Guru:Shobana Balchander)
5. DASARATHI VARATHARAJAN (Guru: Sivakumar)
6. KRUPAA LAKSHMI VISWESWARA (Guru: Shobana Balchander)
7. AARABHI BADRI (Guru:Radhika Shurjit)
8. KRITHIKA SHURAJIT (Guru: Shobana)
9. RESHMA MALLIKNATH (Bharatakalanjali)
10. SWAPNA SRIDHARAN (Bharatakalanjali)
11.PRIYANKA GANESH (Bharatakalanjali)
12. MADHAVI CHANDRAN (Guru: Girija Chandran & Dhananjayans)

The Bharata Kalanjali dancers presented three public performances (including one in collaboration with Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk), as well as fourteen performances and sixteen workshops for grade schools in the tri-state area of CT, NY and NJ. An estimated 7,000 youngsters participated in these interactive programs.

The dancers performed a variety of classical and folk pieces. These artists, trained in Bharatanatyam, one of the world’s most subtle dance forms that reflects principles of stylized body movement laid down in centuries old treatises on dramaturgy. Not just rhythmic movement, Bharatanatyam communicates physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions through the expression of dance, drama, gymnastics, and mime. Because it also represents South India’s age old art form of story telling, these twelve young performers instructed their audiences in dance workshops to use hand and body movements to recreate these folk tales.

Items of performances included: folk and classical Bharatanaatyam repertoire. Two special short stories were specially choreographed to show moral values in life.
Punyakoti (Animal stories-cow & linoness),
Mohini Bhasmaasura (Mythology),
Folk dances like Bhangada, Santhali, Raasa and Kurathikummy, representing north to south and east to west of India.

The Bharata Kalanjali dancers presented three public performances (including one in collaboration with Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk), as well as fourteen performances and sixteen workshops scheduled for grade schools in the tri-state area. An estimated 7,000 youngsters participated in these interactive programs.

It is evident that students around the world live in a global society of diverse cultures and customs, but studies show that exposure to these cultures is often limited to 30-second news clips on the evening news. In a complex world where understanding cultural issues – not only abroad, but also at home - is now a necessity and hardly a luxury, Creative Connections’ mission becomes profoundly relevant. The time is long past when children could remain culturally isolated. They are growing up in a world in which their lives are shaped by the conflicts and aspirations of people whose countries they rarely know. Indeed, the social fabric of our communities already reflects the mores of people with unique backgrounds, customs, and values. As recently voiced by the Council for Global Education, “Children must learn to view national, linguistic and cultural diversity as an asset.”

Yet educational programs teaching children about cultural differences remain woefully inadequate. Travel to other continents is simply not affordable for most youngsters, and gaining cultural insights about people around the world through textbooks lacks a sense of immediacy leaving much to be desired.

The International Young Performers Tour is an important component of Creative Connections’ cultural exchange programming. Besides being entertained, young audiences get an insider’s feel for a foreign culture through school performances and workshops. Performances lead off with a short student-narrated video, “Up Close and Personal,” that takes audiences “back home” to observe schools, homes, and rehearsals. The interaction between the performers and their American peers - another critical aspect of the program - is achieved through “hands-on” workshops, classroom visits, shared meals, and lodging with host families.

Previous International Young Performers Tours from Cambodia, Uganda, Colombia, Ireland, and Russia received critical accolades from teachers, their students, host families and public audiences, alike, for raising cultural awareness through the performing arts. Creative Connections evaluates the success of these tours by sampling reactions from both participants and school collaborators. A theater arts teacher in Rye commented recently, “No longer were these people foreign. They became real with real stories.” And a host family in Westport proclaimed, “That weekend was life changing! Creative Connections, along with these kids, has bettered our lives in ways that I can’t begin to explain.”

Although the performing arts often serve as the vehicle for communication, Creative Connections is not just an arts organization, per se. Its broader platform is cultural exchange (including ethics, pop culture, and local and global issues), connecting young people around the globe to bridge the gulf of fear and misunderstanding that divides our world. For further detail, please visit www.creativeconnections.org.

International Young Performers Tour - Reviews - Photo Album

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