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I would now like to take a moment to introduce the Nrithyanjali Institute of Dance.
Nrithyanjali is a premier dance company in the United States, dedicated to preserving, promoting and propagating classical Indian dance forms. Established in 1990, the institute has several successful and unique productions spanning the last two decades. Many of the productions have been supported by reputed arts organizations such as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Middlesex County Culture and Heritage Commission as well as colleges and universities such as Rutgers University, Wesleyan University, Lehigh University, and Muhlenberg College.
Nrithyanjali, under the leadership of its artistic director, Guru Ramya Ramnarayan, has presented traditional themes and stories from Hindu mythology through its productions. Some of these productions include:
1) Purush, a gripping presentation showing historic men in their role as fathers and their relationships with their children, which was an artistic leap by Guru Ramya.
2) Rhythm in the Soul, a collaborative work with African drummers and dancers.
3) Journey through Genre, a joint production with Flamenco dancers and musicians.
4) Artistic Expose of Emotions, a unique performance presenting ancient Sangam Literature.
5) And the critically acclaimed Ashtanayika, or the eight attributes of women
The Institute has also twice presented Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic on the story of Lord Rama. One production raised funds for the Guruvayoor-Appan Sannidhi, and the other was a collaboration with Baalam Dance Theater, fusing Balinese Dance with Bharatanatyam.
Some other productions include:
6) Shiva Navarasa, a dance showcase describing the nine emotions of Lord Shiva;
7) Glimpses of Mahabharata – an ancient Indian epic performed as a dance ballet at a number of venues around the tri-state area.
8) Kodhai Kanda Kannan – tells the story of Kodhai or Andal and was a fundraising program for the i Ranganatha Temple in New York.
Another distinct Nrithyanjali production was Five Gems of Thyagaraja, which glorified the greatness of Saint Thyagaraja and his 5 elaborate compositions called the Pancha Rathna keerthanams. The Institute has also experimented with a vast array of musical styles in global productions, including contemporary Jazz and western choral music.Nrithyanjali has also taken leadership roles in its community during times of need. Over the years we have raised over $200,000 for various charities such as The American Red Cross, Wellness Community Center, Easton Hospital, Kids Peace America, Free the Children, Sankara Eye Foundation, Guruvayoor Appan Sannidhi, and Ranganatha-Seva Samithi. Recently, through the efforts of our artistic director Guru Ramya, Nrithyanjali raised funds to help artists affected by the pandemic.