BY DR. PANCHAJANYA PAUL
With inputs by Veena Rao
Atlanta, GA, September 25, 2017: Celebrated judge of the reality show ‘Dance India Dance’ and Bollywood choreographer, Geeta Kapoor, was bowled over by Atlanta’s dancing talent at the inaugural Dance Fever 2017 held at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on September 2, 2017.
“I honestly didn’t expect to see so much talent in Atlanta’s small community,” she gushed at the end of the four-hour long glitzy program that saw a host of local solo and group dancers charge the auditorium with their artistry and athleticism and some very inspired choreography.
The inaugural dance contest was hosted by Bhavana and Vishal Anand of Anand Entertainment, a new and upcoming entertainment company with the goal of keeping the Indian culture alive in the United States.
The show began at 2 pm with an opening act and tribute to Geeta Kapoor (or Geeta Ma as she is fondly called) by Shiv’s Institute of Dance. The hall was packed with around 500 people, all cheering for the contestants. Prestigious dance schools and many self-taught participants from all over the United States competed with one another in both the group and solo category. Contestants were divided in to 3 categories based on age: kids, teen and adult and there were separate prizes for solo and group. The audience witnessed different styles of dances ranging from classical, semi classical, Bollywood, fusion, hip-hop and contemporary.
The much-coveted prize for the adult solo dance category went to Sagnika Mukherjee from Sagnika Dance School who showed her class with Bharatnatyam, Oddissi and Bollywood steps. She mesmerized the audience with her dance medley on Radha and drew praise from judge Kapoor who said: “I think India is missing you. You should have been a Bollywood Star…Beautiful. I mean, it’s very rare to find someone so perfect during the dance with expression & you are one of them.”
The second prize in adult solo went to Sridevi Ranjit from Laasya School of dance who also got accolades for her perfectly executed classical dance. The kids solo winners were Kunsh Sharma (1st prize) and Sharanya Shetty (2nd prize). The teen solo winners were Aarya Kothari (1st prize) and Akhil Turaga (2nd prize).
In the group segments, the 1st kids group prize went to Atlanta Nritya Academy and the 2nd prize to Shiv’s Dance Academy. In the teen group, the 1st prize went to Prem’s Dance Studio and the 2nd prize to Shiv’s Dance Academy. In the Adult group, the 1st prize was won by Atlanta Nritya Academy and the 2nd prize went to Prem’s Dance Studio boys group.
Atlanta Nritya Academy came out as the biggest winner of the night, winning first prizes for the group dances in the kids and adult category. The group dances were much contested with many great performances. Atlanta Nritya academy with their dancers Aruna Gutta, Sudakshina Mukherjee, Roshnia Hariharan, lavany Hariharan, Kriti Pandey, Jyothi Balakrishnan, Barshana Chaudhury, Ranu Gupta raised bar for all. Geeta Kappor praised the lead choreographer Sudakshina Mukherjee for her excellent choreography and gave the team a standing ovation. Shiva institute of dance, another premier dance school in Atlanta got two second prizes in the group category. The boys of Shiva institute Aneesh, Gunahyam, Sarvanam, Hans, Krithanjay, Mohit, Sarnay, Varunson, Thejase made their teacher proud. Prem dance academy the leading dance group set the stage on fire with their electrifying performances. They got the first prize in group-teen category and another second prize. Geeta Ma flowered praises to Prem Rehman, the lead choreographer, who narrated how he started from a humble background in Bangladesh and went on to build one of the most successful dance schools in Atlanta.
The night ended with prize distribution and a closing performance by Prem’s Dance Studio. The audience felt happy and lucky to witness such a dance extravaganza in Atlanta. The title sponsor of the show 27th Investments along with other sponsors Indian Friends of Atlanta, Swad, Patel Brothers and Cargo Express were thanked.
The program was kept alive and rolling with some very masterful emceeing by Monty Kataria who charmed the audience with his wit and easy banter.
In the end, some contestants won and others did not, but everyone was a winner.
Speaking to NRI Pulse, organizer Bhavana Anand said she was very happy with the enthusiastic response to the first ever Dance Fever. “Performing in front of Geeta Kapoor opened several future doors to fresh new faces. But there was so much local talent that could not participate because we had to close registrations,” she said. “Next year, we promise a bigger and better platform for local talents to showcase their dancing skills.”