This year Diwali, the Festival of Lights, was on November 4. Through Segerstrom Arts, we invited Ramya’s group to share a glimpse of Indian culture and art form with our ever-curious students. Her group had two dancers, including herself and a Tabla artist- Jyotiprakash. Both the dancers, brightly and elegantly attired, performed a classical Indian dance form called Bharatanatyam. Bharat-nat-yam originates from the Southern part of India. This dance form is noted for its fixed upper torso, and bent knees combined with intricate footwork and sophisticated sign language consisting of hand, eye, and facial muscle gestures.
Ramya jumpstarted the assembly by asking our students some questions about Diwali and it was truly fascinating to see so many hands go up in the air! It must be said that HDS students learn a lot about different cultures. Her assistant performed a brief dance feature called Pushpanjali, which means offering of flowers.
After the elegant performance, we were taken to the rhythmic and invigorating world of Tabla, an Indian precision instrument that has its origin in the Northern part of India. It’s much like the drums, only played with hands. Jyotiprakash performed a short piece in which he led a note and the students instinctively responded by copying the notes with their hands and feet! He then called upon one of his own students, Vivaan Bansal, a fifth grader at HDS, to play on the tabla alongside him through the rest of the assembly. Much like all the Indian classical dance forms, tabla is also used as a storytelling medium. To highlight this, Jyotiprakash verbally narrated a cute scenario about kids wanting to throw their backpacks aside once they return from school and wanting to play, but the moms tell them to sit down and eat some food. He then took to his tabla to narrate the same scenario musically and wow, was it entertaining!
Ramya then concluded the special assembly with a beautiful dance performance based on a mythological story.
Fun fact for music lovers: Tabla has two round drums- one for each hand. The smaller drum, for the non-dominant hand, creates treble and tonal sound while the larger drum produces bass.
Happy Diwali, and a prosperous year ahead to the HDS community!