BURLINGTON, MA—India Association of Greater Boston, known as IAGB, gave a new meaning to the so-called Indian Standard Time and started its annual Republic Day program sharp at 4:00 pm as it had announced and planned. It came as surprised to many in the audience as most Indians are used to starting such events 30 minutes to one hour later than originally scheduled and advertised.
Indians and Indian-Americans from all walks of life came to the Burlington High School in Burlington, MA, on Saturday, Jan. 30, to celebrate India’s 67th Republic Day. Twenty-four teams consisting of young kinds to adults participated in the cultural program that continued for almost four hours. The Burlington High School auditorium was full with the audiences and performers. A number of vendors and non-profit organizations had set up their stalls and booths, creating a festive and mela-like atmosphere outside the auditorium.
The program opened with IAGB Vice President Praveena Naduthota welcoming the audience and national anthems of the United States and India sung by Aashna Parikh and Janani Sharma, respectively.
The event was organized by IAGB and its sister organization Saheli. Lata Rao, an IAGB director and Advisory Board member of Saheli gave an overview and accomplishments of Saheli in the South Asian community in 2015. Chief Guest of the evening was Dnyaneshwar Mulay, consul general of India, New York. Newly-elected IAGB President Jaya Voruganti introduced her executive committee.
The theme of this year’s event was “Folk Art of India” that featured folk music and colorful folk dances from across India. IAGB, founded in 1962, strives to foster a strong Indian cultural and community presence in the Greater Boston area.
Here is a complete list of all the items, participants and teachers and coordinators:
- LearnQuest Academy of Music & RASA
Indian wedding rituals have had a long history of folk music accompaniment to the different ceremonies that comprise a ritual. Whether it be a Haldi ceremony, Gowri puja, Mehendi Sangeet ceremony, Tilak, Saptapadi or Vidaii – a special song is sung by women to mark the ceremony.
Teacher/Coordinator: Shuchita Rao
Participants: Alka Pandey, Chaitrali Yadav, Varsha Paranjape, Neetu Raina, Swapna Kommidi,
Shuchita Rao, Vasanthi Vinjamoori, Vijay Mohan (Dholak).
- Bolly Folk Beats
A musical act that gives the message of how farmers are struggling in Indian villages and that they are in need of help. Poor farmers, who incur heavy losses take extreme steps to end their lives. There is a need to save farmers and this act attempts to bring out that message.
Teacher/Coordinator: Sarega Academy – Jyoti Sharma
Participants: Janani Sharma, Sarala Sharma, Jairaj Sharma, BareeSidhiqui,
Ashneel Ejenkar, Urja Sharma, Joachim Arokiaraj
- Folk Fusion
The performance will take you through the vibrant states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as you see kids perform various folk dances from this region.
Teacher/Coordinator: Academy of Creative Arts – Shikha Bajpai
Participants: Swapnil Gandhi, Mihir Gandhi, Diya Shenoy, Nimmi Meller, Zubin Gupta, Anya Gupta, Guhan, Anjali
Gondhal is an important religious ceremony for the Maharashtrian community and is usually performed in honor of and dedicated to Mother Bhawani during the night of the marriage of the eldest and/or the youngest son of most families. Gondhal is one of those few important folk arts of Maharashtra that has become an inseparable part of the lifestyle of the people.
Teacher/Coordinator: Happy Dance and Drama Events – Sheetal Lotlikar
Participants: Anushree Lotlikar, Dia A. Pillai, Varshita Chittur, Arshia Aggarwal, Amrutha Thejesh, Kanishka Shri Naveen, Sarayu Gadam, Iyana Dutta
5. Masti Group Dance
Drama-based act depicting different festivals of India. See young kids take you through a journey through Baisakhi, Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas, and Ganesh Chaturthi
Teacher/Coordinator: Nikita’s Bollywood Dance Academy – Nikita Rao
Participants: Binita Rana, Sean Rana, Neil Tallamraju, Pranav Nair, Sanjana Uppalapati, Atulith Podduturi, Eesha Gawda, Rohan Amin, Nishi Amin, Anvita Gandhari, Meher Bijlani, Amisha Arora, Aaryan Deshwal, Saarvi Deshwal, Ishwa Dharan, Yash Shrivastava, Sneha Shetty, Neha Chandra, Shravya Rathi, Anaya Gupta, Anulekha Sahu, Arushi Biswas, Vasu Jetly, Ishika Chaurasia, Ahana Thapa, Siya Shah, Diya Bhatnagar, Ishita Rao, Ikshaan Rao, Ayanna Gupta, Aarya Desai, Rithvik Senthilraja, Mithra Senthilraja,Tia Bhardwaj, Rhythm Arora, Srisai Vappuluri, Malvika Bhardwaj, Suchi Mathur, Nipun Kodeboyena, Naavya Vora, Neha Agarwal, Kareena Mannan, Celina Mannan, Chandani Patel, Tanay Gada.
6. Shamlaji Ne Mele
Folk dance from Gujarat, depicting the bygone days of going to a fair or a carnival. Young boys and girls looked forward to going to fairs as that was their platform to meet new friends. Boys would buy bangles, sarees etc., to gift their girlfriends.
Teacher/Coordinator: Avanti – Lajju Davawala
Participants: Anushka Patel, Anu Patel, Arya Patel, Anya Palermo, Anya Lundberg, Anjali Patel, Krupa Patel, Ria Gandhi, Rucha Dabhal, Rahi Patel, Aryana Solanki, Sarika Agarwalla, Surina Patel, Spruha Bajaj.
7. Dancing Feet
Little children performing a folk song from one of the most “happening” states of India – Goa. Here, they are dancing to the tunes of one of the iconic singers from Goa – Remo Fernandes.
Teacher/Coordinator: Shashwati Dance Class – Shashwati Basu
Participants: Adwitha Mitra, Alisha Kaur, Amber Ajmera, Anvi Jain, Manas Agarwal, Rudra Sekhar Roy, Saanvi Basu, Srikar Dantula.
- ACA Folk Medley
India is a country where cultures come together. Every state in India has its own culture, identity and lifestyle. Today, we are showcasing two such major cultures, Punjabi and Gujarati.
Teacher/Coordinator: Academy of Creative Arts – Dipal Anand
Participants: Anaya Joshi, Aanya Gupta, Myra Gupta, Rhea Yadav, Aaria Nagpal, Niva Pandey, Mira Rath, Nisha Nandy, Tanya Banerjee, Shivani Durvasula, Pooja Lonial.
- Kavadi Sindhu
Kavadi is a dance style commonly practiced in Tamil Nadu. Praising Lord Murugan, son of lord Shiva and his great accomplishments and beauty, the dancers use a Kavadi, decorated with peacock feathers and bright colors, to express happiness, joy and devotion to the lord.
Teacher/Coordinator: Eastern Rhythms – Ranjani Saigal
Participants: Shirin Bakre, Ashwini Shinde, Neeraja Deshpande, Nidhi Pillai, Niyati Patel, Ananya Gurjar, Sanjana Puri.
- Journey of Joy
The dance item starts with the graceful flowing moves of the Shanti Niketan style of dance of Bengal, touches upon the tea dances of the hills of Darjeeling and Mirik, and continues to transcend to the joyous moves of Bhangra from Punjab, and ends with the rhythmic sway of the Dandiya sticks from Gujarat. A celebration of just a few of the colorful and breathtaking folk dances of India.
Teacher/Coordinator: Folk Naach – Arpita Pathak
Participants: Advaith Dasu, Ashish Dasu, Smera Dhananjaya, Smrithi Dhananjaya, Nisha Iyer, Varun Iyer, Richa Juvekar, Pratham Juvekar, Maahi Miglani, Shorya Miglani, Raghav Narula, Aishani Pathak, Arohan Pathak, Sanjana Sampath, Priyanka Sarathy, Roshan Sarathy, Aadhiti Vallatharasu.
- Holiya Dance
Holiya is a Rajasthani folk song based on the festival of Holi. It demonstrates the fun you have in Holi with colors, your friends and family.
Teacher/Coordinator: Aashna Group – Deepal Parikh
Participants: Saloni Patel, Shree Patel, Vanshika Patel, Rayna Parikh, Iesha Patel, Kavya Patel, Ritvi Patel, Reehal Parikh, Diya Bhatnagar.
- Monsoon Magic
This medley describes the beauty of the rains in India. The dark clouds hovering over the sky, the hissing tunes of the rains and droplets trickling over the roofs, the young girls play in the muddy puddles and enjoy a moment of madness!
Teacher/Coordinator: Chidambaram Nritya Kala Academy – Neha Parikh
Participants: Maansi Desai, Suma Cherkadi, Nandita Kasireddy, Valli Arasi, Shreya Nagri, Damini Singh, Aarohi Darisi, Yuvika Akkineni.
Traditional folk dance performed by worshippers of Yellamma Devi. Jogwa is typically performed by Jogta and Jogtin in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Teacher/Coordinator: Shriya Joag
Participants: Aditi Taylor, Anagha Singh, Neeta Naik, Pallavi Joshi, Parineeta Chavan, Ruta Upalekar, Samidha Sane, Shriya Joag.
Ghoomar, a folk dance from Rajasthan, is sometimes called “jhumar.” It is joyfully performed by groups of women from all age groups with simple swaying movements, they move in a circular fashion in their swirling ghaagras (skirts). They are accompanied by men and women singing together.
Teacher/Coordinator: GuruKool Enrichment Center – Namita Miglani
Participants: Namita Miglani-Aghi, Sandhya Dasu, Nish Kapasi, Asha Nagraja, Bhavna Sarathy.
- Lavani Tadka
Lavani the most popular folk dance in the state of Maharashtra, became mainstream dance during 18th century. Donned in nine-yard sarees, heavy ghungroos on the feet and intricate nath (nose ornaments), Lavani dancers combine body movements, striking expressions and upbeat songs to perform on themes of love, romance and socio-political situations to the enchanting beats of a dholaki.
Teacher/Coordinator: Boston Lavani Phad- Vaishali Gade
Participants: Namita Arkashali, Gini Dutta, Vaishali Gade, Bakul Kanade, Madhura Kulkarni, Bhavana Laad, Smita Late, Vrushali Phirke, Swati Shinde.
Margamkali is a traditional folk dance of Christians in Kerala. Female dancers sing and dance, clapping around a Nilavilakku wearing the traditional white dhoti (mundu) and blouse (chatta).
Teacher/Coordinator: New England Malayalee Association – Deepa Jacob
Participants: Meena Unni, Udaya Rani Umesh, Deepa Jacob, Mary Emil Joseph, Anjali Cheleri, Sreeshma Shaji, Kavitha Sreekesh, Priya K Pillai.
- Garvi Gujratan – Gujrati Folk Medley
Feel the rhythm of Gujarat through the beats of dandiya sticks and claps of these Gujaratans, as they present a vibrant dance performance based on traditional Gujarati folk songs.
Teacher/Coordinator: Priti Shokeen
Participants: Premal Trivedi, Kinjal Patel, Trusha Patel, Trusha Thakkar, Sejal Kothari, Minal Vora, Rutika Shah, Priti Shokeen, Soumya Dharmateja, Soha Engineer, Priya Shokeen.
- Bollywood Dance Academy – Folk Medley
A beautiful performance of folk dances from different states of India by the graceful dancers of Bollywood Dance Academy, representing Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Punjab.
Teacher/Coordinator: Nikita’s Bollywood Dance Academy – Nikita Rao
Participants: Puja Shetty, Roshni Gopinath, Sushma Yadupathi, Jugmi Rao, Vibha Vajhallya, Sirisha Bhumireddy, Meenakshi Arora, Pushp Jetly, Shailashree Sherigar, Rishika Pal, Dipali Trivedi, Sujatha Kumar, Yesha Benegal, Rima Patel-Goel, Githi Gangal, Udayasree Sravanam, Queenal Vrishni.
- Desi Rhythms of Boston
Rajasthani folk dances are very colorful with great beats and require perfect timing and balance. This folk dance medley depicts the slow, graceful movements of Ghoomar dance, and the high energy of Rajasthani boys as they celebrate love in a sweet song called Baware.
Teacher/Coordinator: Archana Gorur
Participants: Avni Mishra, Chhavi Mishra, Medhita Sinha, Srishti Sao, Sindhu Sao, Pritha Ramesh, Shruthi Puranik, Suhani Hande, Bhawna Tyagi, Anwita Kasar, Tanvi Sistu, Neha Khadekar, Sanjana Nayak, Aadhiti Vallatharasu, Charu Tyagi, Nisha Pillai, Meera Singh, Neha Sistu, Vishnu Gorur, Aviral Mishra, Rohan Chakravarthy, Kishan Gorur, Mehul Suri, Hari Verma, Keshav Verma.
- Gurjar Garba Mix
A legendary folk dance of garba and raas, which has many variations. Garba can have either two or three clap steps. They can be graceful or forceful. There are different ways of executing dandiya steps. Matukadi and supda dance are other forms of Gujarati folk dances.
Teacher/Coordinator: Gurjar – Jasmine Shah
Participants: Sonal Bakre, Asmita Beri, Swasti Bhargava, Tina Gandhi, Suvarna Ghaisas, Bhavana Laad, Sumita Manwani, Rakhee Menon, Sonal Ramani, Shubha Sriram.
- Performing Arts of New England
This medley shows India’s colorful culture through our traditions based on Worship (Puja), Love (Prem) and Festivals (Utsav).
Teacher/Coordinator: Puja Harkut
Participants: Puja Harkut , Kajal Kaushik, Snehalata Kadam, Kalyani Kanuri, Neha Kaushal, Aditi Jain, Sejal Vora.
- Lavani Bhojpuri Medley
This item presents folk dance forms from the states of Bihar and Maharashtra. The folk dances include Bhojpuri and Lavani, two of the most gracious and rhythmic dance forms from India.
Teacher/Coordinator: Jhankaar – Jayeeta Roy
Participants: Ajitha Pawar, Amrita Kedia, Ankita Malde, Deepa Vishnu, Jayeeta Roy, Manasi Dingankar, Masuma Khokhar, Megna Ajmera, Nidhi Poojary, Priyanka Jaiswal, Sapna Kumari, Shaswati Basu, Shilpi Trivedi, Totan Ganguly.
- Warkari of New England
Dindi dance is a traditional folk dance from Maharashtra, depicting warakari or devotees marching from their homes to Pandharpur to worship Vitthal. It’s a religious procession celebrated during Ashaad Shukla Paksha in June-July.
Teacher/Coordinator: Vijay Shriwardhankar
Participants: Pradeep Deshpande, Ronak Gade, Vaishali Gade, Uday Kashalikar, Madhura Kulkarni, Omkar Kulkarni, Smita Late, Mahesh Marathe, Anagha Singh, Nayonika Singh, Aaratrika Singh, Swati Shinde, Mihika Shinde, Vijay Shriwardhankar, Viraj Shriwardhankar, Aditi Taylor, Raj Taylor, Veer Taylor.
- Nagaland Dance
This item is an energetic tribal dance from Nagaland, performed forcefully with bamboo sticks to express joy and happiness.
Teacher/Coordinator: Aangikam – Jasmine Shah
Participants: Shivani Patel, Suhani Patel, Sheena Patel, Ashvi Patel, Hannah Prasad, Raichel Patel, Manisha Chourasia, Ishika Chourasia.
The event was organized by India Association of Greater Boston ( www.IAGB.org) and Saheli whose members are:
IAGB Executive Committee
Officers 2015 – 2017
President: Jayashree Voruganti Saheli
Vice President: Praveena Naduthota Tel: 1-866-4SAHELI
Secretary: Pravin Mundkur www.saheliboston.org
Treasurer: Sanjay K. Gowda
IAGB Directors Saheli Governing Board (2015-2017)
Ms. Ruchi Agrawal Ms. Barinder Ahluwalia
Mr. Matthew Chacko Ms. Gouri Banerjee, Ph.D.
Mr. Narender Chhabra Ms. Tanvi Devimane
Ms. Jeyanthi Ghatraju Ms. Mala Krishnamurthy
Ms. Zehra Khan Ms. Deepika Madan
Mr. Robin Mathews Ms. Kumkum Pareek Malik, Psy.D.
Ms. Suzana Naik Mr. Manish Patel
Mr. Rishi Palriwala Ms. Lata Parwani
Mr. Ujjwal Parikh Mr. Pradip Tandon
Mr. Avinash Patil Ms. Usha Vakil
Mr. Venu Rao
Ms. Lata Rao Saheli Staff
Mr. Syed Ali Rizvi Ms. Rita Shah, MSW, LCSW
Mr. Rajesh Shah Ms. Salita Mehta
Ms. Aditi Taylor Ms. Vandana Sharma
Ms. Mariya Taher, MSW
IAGB 2015 – 2017 Committees Saheli Advisory Board
Culture – Jeyanthi Ghatraju and Aditi Taylor Mr. Ramesh Advani
Fund Raising – Avinash Patil and Rajesh Shah Ms. Anu Chitrapu
Public Relations – Zehra Khan and Ruchi Agrawal Mr. David S. Ludwig, MD, Ph.D.
Community Services – Suzana Naik and Syed Ali Rizvi Ms. Sweta Mepani
Reach Beyond Boundaries – Venu Rao and Syed Ali Rizvi Ms. Trupti Patel, Esq.
Bylaws – Narender Chhabra Ms. Lata Rao
Ms. Ranjani Saigal
Ms. Manju Sheth, MD
Mr. Rajendra Trivedi, MD
Ms. Jaya Voruganti
Ms. Neelam Wali