Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dances of India returns..

The popular Dances of India, the colorful showcase of 2,000-year-old Indian classical and folk dances, will hold its 10th annual performance on April 30 at the Halton Theater.

I caught up with the group’s leader, Maha Gingrich, to talk about the group’s evolution. Here are excerpts:

For those unfamiliar with Dances of India, how would you describe it?
Dances of India will highlight classical dance styles of India, such as Kuchipudi and Bharatha Natyam from South India and the Kathak dance style from North India. We will also showcase the high energy folk dances from different regions. Our signature dance, Unity in Diversity will show the similarities between Indian dances and other international dance styles.

How did Dances of India start?
It started as a community outreach initiative during “Thursday Recital Series” of CPCC’s Arts and Communication division. CPCC wanted to celebrate and support the diversity that exists within our community and the college.

How has the program changed over the years?
We first presented our show in a small 150 capacity auditorium on CPCC’s central campus. Due to the demand for the show, the next year we moved into the Pease Auditorium with 450 capacity. Now we are in the beautiful Halton Theater that is designed for performing arts with 1,000 plus capacity. Each year, the community surprised us with their support and incredible turnout.

How do you find your dancers?
All of our performers are local to the Charlotte region. They have been training in these classical dance forms for six to eight years. Many of the local artists from CPCC and other dance groups participate each year according to the theme being presented.

What special things do you have in store for this year's performance?
Each year we have done different themes such as stick dances, clapping dances, animal dances, festival dances, etc. that are common in many parts of the world. This year we want to showcase the basis of any dance -- rhythm and emotions. This is going to be a unique presentation using international instruments and dance styles.

Will you have a solo performance this year? What can you tell us about your dance?
My teacher from my childhood Mrs. Sumathy Kaushal came to visit and taught me this incredible and powerful dance of Lord Shiva. Due to my head injury two years ago, I was not sure if I will be able to perform this dance filled with nonstop rhythms, vigor and unbelievable footwork. In spite of my apprehension, I look forward to performing this dance in a dance drama form with 10 other dancers with unique costumes and masks.

Congrats on your 10 year anniversary. How does it feel to have been successful for this long?
I feel honored to present this show to our Charlotte region. It is due to the support and encouragement of CPCC and the community that we had nine years of sold out shows. I hope the community will join us in celebrating the 10th year anniversary with the same enthusiasm.

For tickets ($10 for adults), call 704-330-6534 or visit

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