The Tamil New Zealand School of Dance on Saturday, February 9, hosted its annual event at New Lynn Community Centre showcasing the talents of the young Bharatanatyam dancers.

The school’s annual concert provides an opportunity to their students to showcase their talents to their families, friends and the community. This year’s concert illustrated the story of Krishna who is mainly associated with the attributes of love and compassion. The performance presented the enchanting story of Krishna’s birth, the playful adventures of his youth, his journey to abolish evil from the 100 headed snake - Kalinga, and his triumphant endeavour to destroy evil in the Mahabharata.

The event was graced by special guests – Members of Parliament   Mellissa Lee, and Dr Paramjeet Parmar  and classical dance lovers. The show started with a Ganapathy dance, which seeks the blessing of Lord Ganesh who is respected as the remover of obstacles and a patron of the arts.

It is believed that dance, like music, knows no geographical boundaries, has no linguistic barriers and has no racial divisions. Dance is a great unifying and integrating force, and it is clearly demonstrated in the show that included participating dancers from the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi and Bengali speaking communities.

As a strong advocate for a multicultural Aotearoa, Tamil New Zealand School of Dance intends to promote and gain extensive recognition of Indian culture through the classical dance, Bharathanatyam, and bring communities together thereby unifying their minds and souls through this form of art.

Tamil New Zealand School of Dance is managed by renowned classical dancer Ambiha Sitsabesan who has been a Bharathanatyam teacher in New Zealand for more than a decade. Ambiha Sitsabesan has conducted numerous shows in Auckland and Wellington.

Like every art form, Bharathanatyam is an expression of ideas, and though it had originated over 2000 years ago, the three main principle’s Nritta, Nritya and Natya have remained perpetual. The flexibility of its basic principle’s lends itself well to both traditional themes as well as modern day subjects. Bharathanatyam is a “living” performance art which has always been a growing art in India and on a global scale. Thus, the arts of India, especially music and dance are a revelation of many thousands of years of culture and civilisation.

Tamil New Zealand School of Dance has been training the students in the South Indian style Bharathanatyam for over a decade now. The school has students enrolled with ethnic heritage from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji and South Africa.

The school regularly performs at Indian community events, and in other ethnic events and contributes to the greater multicultural space of Aotearoa. It has performed at the Auckland Diwali event on Aotea Square, Auckland International Cultural Festival, Auckland Library Shows organised by Auckland Council, Lakeside Festival, Auckland Multicultural Expo and various other community and business events.

The school has actively promoted the younger generation in not just learning the classical dance, but also encourages students to teach dance, and showcase the vibrant art form at different events and stages.

It also encourages students to undertake dance collaboration with community dance groups and develop relationships with the wider Kiwi community.