North Queensland Hindu Community Inc. (NQHC) promotes Indian art and culture through its signature annual event ‘Arpan: an offering’, showcasing classical dance and music from the Indian sub-continent. It is a forum which unites Australians from all walks to celebrate community, culture and cuisine. Arpan has always encouraged upcoming, local talents. Keeping to the tradition, this year too, NQHC invited acclaimed Brisbane-based artists, Ms. Sudha Manian and Mr. Steve Stiller and Melbourne-based artists Ms. Therma Koshy and Ms. Rakhi Anand. The event was held on Saturday May 11, 2019 at Dancenorth, Townsville City.
Sudha Manian, one of finest sitar artists in Australia, was accompanied on Tabla by Mr. Steve Stiller, a percussionist with over 25 years of experience as a performer, conductor, and composer in many genres of music. Their performance, which is based on Raag Pelu, a very popular and light raag commonly used to express love, joy and happiness,.drew a long ovation from the audience. Sudha Manian is the founder of YATRA, an Australian performing group that promotes diversity and cultural integration by collaborating with various artists to produce music that engages the hearts and the minds.
Ms. Therma Koshy is the director of Tanishka Academy of Classical Dances, based in Melbourne. As an accomplished artist trained by some of the well-known classical dancers of India and Australia, Therma is an eminent performer of various classical dance forms, such as Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Mayuranrittam, Manipuri and Kathak. Therma demonstrated and mesmerised the audience with Odissi, one of the oldest dance forms with its roots in North Eastern India dating back to 200 BCE. Therma has been flawless in maintaining the fine elements and the authenticity of the gestures and movements of Odissi. Before the performances, the audience were taken through a brief introduction of the dance forms and the stories, which made them connect more with the storyline.
Ms. Rakhi Anand, an astute performer of Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam shared stage with Therma. Townsville was treated to a unique combination performance by Rakhi and Therma with a mix of Bharatanatyam and Odissi. These are two completely different dance forms with their own styles of hand gestures and foot movements. The artists’ success in combining the beautiful dance forms in a jugal bandi gave the audience a unique experience of the thillana.
Talking on the occasion, Mr Venu Kadiyala, President of NQHC said: “This year is a special year for NQHC as we celebrate our 10th year of service to the Townsville community. To us at NQHC, Arpan is not merely an event but our commitment to the community. Arpan helps raise funds for NQHC’s current and future educational, cultural and spiritual activities designed to enhance and empower our community.”
Since its inception in 2010, Arpan, which means an offering, has been associated with vibrancy and festivity. The community dresses up in its finest and comes with family and friends to soak-in the extravagance of Indian culture and tradition at its best. Not only is Arpan an indulgence of ethos and art, it is also a treat to your taste buds with homemade Indian cuisines accompanied by sweets served before the performances.
Arpan will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020, when NQHC aims to bring together another line-up of performances in Indian classical dance and music and deliver another cultural experience for the Townsville audience.