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BLOOMINGTON — Bharatanatyam, one of the oldest classical dance traditions of India, will be presented during a public performance Sunday at the Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal.

"This is a 3,000-year-old art form that has its cultural roots in southern India," said Sasi Royyuru-Vakkalanka. "It incorporates different gestures, including eyes, neck, hands and feet."

Bharatanatyam, believed to be the manifestation of fire in the body, also is  considered to be the highest form of yoga practice, she said.

The event, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the temple, 1815 Tullamore Ave., Bloomington, will feature the Anubhava Dance Company.

Founded in 2015 by Shriya Srinivasan Joshua George, the dance company features academically active Indian artists enrolled at several universities in the United States and Canada. The group has toured more than 10 U.S. cities, impressing audiences and raising funds for charitable organizations at many of the programs.

Admission is free. The performance will be followed by an interactive panel discussion.

"We are honored to have a group of artists from Anubhava, who are also high achievers academically from Harvard, Case Western Reserve University, University of Wisconsin and University of Pennsylvania," said Royyuru-Vakkalanka.

Even though the dancer ensemble practices the ancient art form of Bharatanatyam, "we are constantly exploring the relevance it has to modern-day society," said the dance company on its website at

The event is being sponsored by Margam, a local initiative, that in collaboration with the Hindu temple promotes, preserves and popularizes Indian classical arts, including music and dance, said Royyuru-Vakkalanka.

"As a physician I see the suffering — mental, physical and spiritual — at a very fundamental level inside patient rooms," said Royyuru-Vakkalanka. 

"There is a need to help our children hold onto something which gives them a good escape .... through personal enrichment, through years with no instant gratification rather than drugs or gadgets," she added. "By enriching them, they are in peace with themselves ... and everyone around."

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Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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