2012 – “Aum Sad Gurubhyo Namaha – An Ode to the Guru.” +
The Guru – Shishya Parampara or the Teacher–Disciple lineage has been one of the strongest building blocks of Indian culture. That is why Indian tradition has always placed the Guru on par with the Supreme. In fact, no invocation or prayer is complete without invoking the blessings of the Guru, who takes you by hand and guides you in your quest for enlightenment. In other words, it is the Guru who lights the spark of Divinity inside you and helps you realize the Supreme Being which is nothing but the realization of your own true self.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that the beautiful choreographer duo of Ramya Sundaresan Kapadia and Rinku Bhattacharya Das chose to pay tribute to their Gurus through their excellent dance rendition titled “Aum Sad Gurubhyo Namaha – An Ode to the Guru.”
Now, the two choreographers, Ramya Kapadia and Rinku Bhattacharya Das need no introduction to the art loving public of the Triangle Area. They have been part of the rich and varied multi cultural warp and weave that forms the vibrant tapestry that is the cultural scene in the Triangle.
The performance naturally began with an invocation to Brihaspathi or Jupiter, the celestial Guru of the Devas, seeking his protection, like an armor covering each part of one’s body. Then it follows the journey of the seeker or Manushya, caught in an intricate web of relationships and tangled in the cycle of birth, life and death, till he realizes the illusory nature of his self.
That is when he begins to question his existence and purpose of existence. Caught up in the tumultuous waves of the Sea of Samsara, he realizes that despite the turmoil he experiences around him, his inner Self remains unperturbed. He recognizes this as the Guru who can lead him from untruth to truth, darkness to light and death to immortality and begs to be guided.
The Self offers ‘Upadesha’ or guidance and imparts to Manushya, the way to the Truth, which has been lying dormant in him like the Kundalini energy, deeply coiled within himself. He must rise in knowledge and ultimately realize that Renunciation of the fruits of one’s action is the highest form of Sadhana – the idea that forms the core of the Bhagavad Gita.
Then the scene shifts to the various gurus in one’s life who create order out of chaos and guide the disciple to attain perfect harmony of breath with the cosmic AUM. Here, Yoga, Nada Yoga (Music) and Natya Yoga (Dance) are celebrated as means to realize the Inner Self or the Sadguru.
In conclusion, the seeker offers oneself in totality, Samarpan to the Guru and beseeches Him to come take over one’s life and guide the self to the Inner Self.
While that forms a summary of the day’s performance, no words are enough to describe the beautiful presentation offered by Ramya Kapadia and Rinku Battacharya Das, ably supported by the team of excellent dancers from the Natyarpana School of Dance & Music, Aakrisht Indian Contemporary Dance Group and Natya Academy. All praise goes to this vibrant bunch of dancers, for grace beyond compare, exquisite footwork, sublime expression and flawless execution of the concept. And if the excellent narration of the idea being portrayed left you with any questions, the accompanying visuals projected on the backdrop simply removed all doubts.
Trying to pick moments of the performance to cite as examples of excellence in this beautiful blend that brings together the classical elegance of Bharathnatyam, Kathak and Manipuri and the modern flair of contemporary styles is no easy task; yet some moments stand etched in mind like a living tableau – the angst undergone by Manushya caught in the tangled web of relationships and illusions of this world, the elegant movements of the Self ferrying Manushya across the Sea of Samsara, the beautiful harmony of the three yogas being practiced on stage – and I must specially mention that it is not often that you get to see the Surya Namaskar presented as part of a dance- and the final Samarpana, the total surrender to the Ultimate Guru…
What is amazing about the danseuse Ramya who conceived and scripted this show, is that she is an accomplished musician as well. Credit for the music score goes to her and hers is the voice of most of the pieces. And the final rendition of the Samarpan chant, beseeching the Guru, in total surrender to come reside in the seeker was absolutely sublime.
This dance presentation was no doubt a daunting task as you could see from the depth of ideas presented. Ramya has plumbed the depths of Indian scriptures and philosophy to elucidate her concept and the amount of research that has gone into this project and the dedication with which it was pursued, was clear for all to see, up on the stage.
And the stage offered by the Cary Arts Center with its state of the art lighting and audio equipment made the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Hum Sub is once again proud to present such immense local talent in an extravaganza of music and dance, enriching the cultural milieu of the Triangle Area, through its annual celebration of Spring – Basant Bahar!
2011 – “Nav Tarang – A Wave of New Beginnings” & +
Saturday – April 16, 2011 was an eventful day for multiple reasons. There was a tornado sweeping through the triangle area causing lot of heart burn for affected people. At the same time there was a different kind of event sweeping through the area warming lot of hearts almost trying to soothe everyone through Basant Bahar 2011. Tornado, heavy thunder storms, power cut and fallen trees could not stop the organizers, performers and above all audience from attending Basant Bahar 2011 held at Athens Drive High School, Raleigh.
It was an emphatic display of dedication and love for the culture and it’s expression by the participants and their families considering the weather conditions to show up for the event. The event was also well attended by people from all walks of life adding a true international flavor to the already colorful evening. Distinguished guests to grace the event included Cary Council Member Don Franz (http://donfrantz.blogspot.com/) and Cary Cultural Arts Manager Lyman Collins.
This year’s event featured Dance and Music from various states and highlighted not only similarities, but also the differences that make India’s culture truly unique and diverse to perfectly fit the title ‘Nav Tarang – A Wave of New Beginings’. Evening’s proceedings started with beautiful invocation bhajan on Lord Ganesh followed by a fantastic fusion of vocal, instrument and dance from the state of Bengal. Core of the event also included various forms of dance and music expressions from different states in India such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan , Orissa, Nagaland, to name few.
Choreographers’ efforts of working with the teams for months on preparation leading towards the event truly showed in the quality of the program. They showcased varied repertoire of dance and music that included variety of themes performed by fewer individuals to larger groups in different age groups with both male and women alike representing a huge diversity. The program’s grip on audience was such that they were riveted into their seats through out the two and half hours. Top it all there was also a food vendor committed to ensure audience were fed with delicious Indian snacks reminding of a famous Thiru kural that roughly translated into ‘We need to fill up our stomach with food if and only if we don’t get good food for our ears!’.
Basant Bahar 2011 was well presented by Master of Ceremonie’s Simmi Prasad and Dipak Prasad with an excellent team of Hum Sub volunteers to pull of such a wonderful event. In the end none of us could resist the feeling of wanting more that reminded of the famous Pepsi advertising slogan “yeh dil maange more” a.k.a “This heart wants more”.
2010 – “Sangam – A confluence of talent” +
Hum Sub’s 10th year celebrations began this year with a grand presentation that showcased Triangle’s most reputed dance and music schools. In celebrating its 10th anniversary, Hum Sub awarded cultural grants’ of $500 to dance groups and $250 to music groups. All the local dance and music teachers and choreographers were invited to present a unique concept with a theme. The awardees were selected based on their uniqueness and creativity of their ideas submitted. The event was appropriately given the theme “Sangam – Confluence of Talent”.
For a decade, Hum Sub has celebrated the glory of spring, by presenting Basant Bahar. This year’s feature took the event to a higher notch by setting the stage for noteworthy Indian artists in the Triangle to exhibit their creative genius.
The evening’s performance attended by more than 700 people took the audience through various facets of Indian dance and music. Glittering costumes and vibrant sounds filled the Green Hope High School auditorium. The Music groups enthralled the audience with fusion of Jazz and Indian classical music and a rhythmic ensemble group exemplified the challenges of bringing up kids in a Diaspora environment in America. The dance schools rendered a treat to the audiences with their nuances in the thematic representations such as traditional Indian Bharatanatyam dance with a contemporary twist, patriotism, inner vibrations, the journey that Kathak has embarked over the years and a presentation dedicated in the honor of two great apostles of peace Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This year’s Basant Bahar was partially funded by a grant from the Lazy Daze Arts and crafts festival, a Cary based festival supporting local arts & non-profit organizations and activities.
Hum Sub, a Town of Cary supported and all volunteer-led organization was able to successfully impart a unique experience to the audience through an array of entertainment at Basant Bahar. Harold Weinbrecht, Mayor of Town of Cary, who was the Guest of Honor at the event, presented the awards to the grant winners. The 6 grant winners were: Infusion Music Group, Spand Dance Company, Kalashrishti School of Performing Arts, Branavan Ganesan’s Music Group, Taurya Dance School and Payal Dance Academy.
2009 – Lok Utsav +
“It was a very well organized event! I was really impressed by the synchronization of the talented dancers and the vibrant colors” said Anna Zbroinska-Dickerson, a Polish citizen who has been a resident of Cary since 2003, after spending her evening at Basant Bahar on May 7th, 2009.
The responses from the crowd after Basant Bahar 2009 reverberated the same excitement as Anna’s description of the event. For the last few years, Basant Bahar has heralded and celebrated the beginning of spring in the Triangle area adding a decidedly Indian flavor to the celebration of spring. Since the inception of the event, Hum Sub has worked alongside with Town of Cary to portray a different facet of the celebration of spring through a variety of themes.
Basant Bahar 2009 showcased ‘Basant’ or Spring through the theme ‘Lok Utsav’. The expressions and emotions of India’s richly diverse tradition were showcased in this year’s Basant Bahar through performances of Folk Dance and Music. Folk Dances of each state, though simple are beautiful, different and colorful. They are performed as an expression of joy and celebration. Lok Utsav presented an aspect of Indian culture that is very diverse but sometimes forgotten amidst the other modern art forms
An array of unique folk dances and singing styles captured the audience at Herb Young Community Centre, Cary. The community centre was filled to capacity. It was talent and skill of the students and choreographers from various dance and music schools from around the Triangle area that centrally delivered the impact, as they captivated the crowd with exquisitely arrayed versions of songs, skits and traditional Indian folk dances.
Town of Cary Park, Recreation and Cultural Resources have partnered with Hum Sub since its inception and have supported Hum Sub’s goals throughout their partnership. Over the years they have helped to fund both, Basant Bahar and Cary Diwali, another annual event put forward by Hum Sub every Fall. This year’s Basant Bahar was partially funded by a grant from the Lazy Daze Arts and crafts festival, a Cary based festival supporting local arts & non-profit organizations and activities.
2008 – Parampara – The Family Traditions +
Hum Sub organized yet another successful cultural event for Triangle Area residents – Basant Bahar 2008. The event was held on Saturday, March 29 at the Green Hope High School auditorium in Cary. Basant Bahar is supported by a grant from the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival Committee, which encourages local arts and non-profit organizations.
The theme for Basant Bahar 2008 was Parampara – the family traditions. Parampara is a Hindi word meaning tradition. This theme was chosen because Hum Sub recognizes the importance of family traditions as communicated through various performing arts. Our ancestors in India used evocative traditions to cultivate connections between immediate family members and between generations. In today’s world, traditions help families grow together and promote a sense of identity. At Basant Bahar 2008 many family members came together to exhibit traditions that strengthen family ties as well as bond them with Indian cultural heritage. For example, many of the performances saw mothers and daughters, and brothers and sisters sharing the stage together. Even the Masters of Ceremonies were three pairs of mothers and daughters, and one pair of father and son. .
Additionally, many of the performers presented art forms that were passed to them from previous generations or dances passed on to them by their esteemed gurus. The Guru-Shishya parampara is one of the most ancient traditions of India. Typically, the shishya (student) serves the guru with devotion, while the teacher imparts an art to the student. This tradition was highlighted in many of the performances at Basant Bahar 2008, including two Thillanas.
Hum Sub encourages participation from different regional groups of Indian origin. At Basant Bahar 2008, the program consisted of art forms from various parts of India. There were outstanding classical music performances from east and north India. The audience was spell bound by performances in an array of classical dance forms, including Kathak, Bharatnatyam, and Odissi. Of course, a few energetic dances on catchy Bollywood numbers added masti to the mix. There was also a surprise in store for the audience – a dance performance by members of the Hum Sub Board of Directors, who were introduced to the audience by Hum Sub President during the dance.
Like previous Hum Sub events, Basant Bahar 2008 enjoyed support from many segments of the community. This event saw a record attendance of 700. Over 140 performers and choreographers showcased their talents at the event. The performers ranged in age from five-year olds to adults and seniors. Hum Sub hopes that with enthusiastic attendance and participation by the community members, the upcoming annual celebration, Cary Diwali, will also be a sensational event.
2006 – Bhāvana:Expression +
On March 4th, 2006 HumSub celebrated the arrival of spring through the popular event Basant Bahar, with a colorful exhibition of traditional Indian Classical performances. This year’s Basant Bahar added a decidedly Indian flavor to the celebration of spring through its theme Bhāvana: the Indian synonym for ‘Expression’.
‘Bhāvana’ was a showcase of traditional Indian performing arts by Indian Arts Schools in the Triangle area. The event was a huge success with the Green Hope High School Auditorium filled to maximum capacity. The audiences were enchanted with the mystical songs of Tagore and Carnatic kirtanam. The expressions and emotions of spring were brought to life with the dynamic earthy dance style of Bharatanatyam and Andra Natyam. The fast rhythmic strokes of Indian percussion instruments like Tabla and Mridangam left the audience wanting for more… The performers sent notes of appreciation to the cultural committee for their excellent job in sequencing the event.
This yearHum Sub was a recipient of a grant from Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival Committee. Basant Bahar 2006 was supported in part by Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival. One of the members of this committee and the Cultural Resources Manager for the Town of Cary , Mr. Lyman Collins graced the event with his presence.
Overall, Bhāvana was a huge success and it was one more laurel in Humsub’s history of delivering entertainment in all its grandeur.
2005 – Basant Bahar +
“A Good Program! Worthwhile even attending from out of town.”
“Well coordinated and choreographed.”
“I am not Indian but I would love to come back. It was great!”
These quotes from the audience at Basant Bahar are payback enough for all the hard work put in by HumSub members and all the volunteers that made the program a grand success!
HumSub’s Basant Bahar 2005 was held on March 13th at Green Hope High School’s auditorium in Cary,N.C. The theme of this year’s program Rang Umang (Rang: color, Umang: enthusiasm) celebrated the energy and vitality that embodies spring in India. Basant Bahar, now in its 4th year, has traditionally been a celebration of the India’s spring season with songs, dances and other cultural performances showcasing local talent.
The program opened out to a packed auditorium, with Indians and non Indians alike turning out in impressive numbers. The evening was divided into 4 parts each portraying a different facet of Spring. The 4 sections being Rang Raas (love), Rang Sugandh (fragrance), Rang Tarang (waves of music), and Rang Sudha (nectar – signifying new life).
Almost a 100 local performers participated in the program that kept the audiences entertained for 3 hours. Performers ranged from 5 yr olds Nicole and Natasha who danced their hearts out to the amazing Malayalam song set to Bhangra beats (!!), to the show stopping adult dance group Jhankar-Beats who regaled the audience with their energetic performance to the popular hit song ‘Dholi Taro’. Other items included folk songs and dances from all over India, classical performances and popular film songs and dances. Alaap, a band made up of students from NC State University entertained the audience with their talented performances.
Another highlight of this year’s Basant Bahar was the ‘Caterpillar theme’. Between performances, a story was enacted to music about a caterpillar that emerges from its egg into the beautiful world it was born into and its journey through different phases in life. In the grand finale it transforms into a beautiful butterfly on a spring day to fly away to realize its purpose in the grand scheme of life.
The butterfly also delighted the kids by making a special appearance off stage to hand candy and by posing for photographs with the kids.
Basant Bahar 2005 proved to be another feather in HumSub’s cap with its record of delivering excellent annual programs – both Basant Bahar and Cary Diwali. Thank you for your unflinching support in making this program a grand success!
2004 – Basant Bahar +
On February 28, 2004 Guru Sridevi Jagannath’s Laasya School of Dance presented its Spring offering, Ananya. The auditorium of Green Hope High School was filled to capacity for this Hum Sub sponsored free performance which raised money through donations for Operation Phone Home, a project that enables US troops abroad to stay in touch with their families. Fittingly enough, one of the subjects dealt with in Ananya’s multi–themed production was conflict and resolution, a subject that is poignantly relevant in our times. The nearly two-hour program was presented in two halves with the first half showcasing the entire ensemble of Laasya in traditional Bharatanatyam pieces and the second presenting an effusive fusion of tradition and contemporary dance styles. While the first part highlighted the structured beauty of pure classical dance, the second celebrated the youthful vivacity of experiment and innovation. In highly energetic pieces, dancers made the enormous diversity of the Indian sub–continent come alive in all aspects, ranging from flora and fauna to religion. There was even a piece about political corruption! All in all, Hum Sub’s Spring 2004 offering had something for everybody. No wonder the auditorium remained packed till the end. Congratulations to Ms. Jagannath for making Ananya possible, and kudos to Hum Sub for not only entertaining us in such style, but also for letting us be a part of Operation Phone Home.
Nilanjana is a grad student of comparative literature and Teaching Assistant at UNC, Chapel Hill .
2003 – Basant Bahar +
Hum Sub, Inc. exuberantly greeted the spring of 2003 through Basant Bahar (literally translated-Spring Glory), an evening of festivities on March 15. As usual, the variety of programs reflected the diversity of the Indo-American community in the Triangle area. Participants of all ages charmed a sold-out audience of near-600 in the auditorium of East Chapel Hill High School with a dazzling array of dance, music, and mime. Classical and folk styles of performances, hearkening to a timeless India , existed side by side with hip contemporary Bollywood-inspired entertainment. Swirling lehengas, trendy black parallels with single-shoulder tank tops, kurta-pajama and dhotis in earth tones worn by the participants-represented the sartorial variety of modern-day India . While the evening was chilly and rainy, inside the packed auditorium there was warmth, laughter, and a feeling of well-being. The latter no doubt aided by the spicy aroma of Indian food supplied by a well-known local restaurant. All in all, Basant Bahar was an unqualified success, a truly royal welcome to yet another spring.
Nilanjana is a grad student of comparative literature and Teaching Assistant at UNC, Chapel Hill .
Sold out event featuring entertainment programs by young, old and in between.