Just Dance 2017 Thrills Houstonians and Embraces Exhilarated Audience Response

Photos: Murali Santhana

Photos: Murali Santhana

Click here for Photo Collage

By Vanshika Vipin Varma

STAFFORD: On Saturday, March 4, the Old Stafford Civic Center of Houston was brought alive with the ‘Just Dance 2017’ show. This event was Rhythm India Dance Company’s sixth annual program. As a part of this year’s theme- ‘Millennium Mayhem’, a troupe of 270 dancers brought funk back at the awe-inspiring event, performing to the songs released after the year 2000.

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The Rhythm India Dance Company was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Arzan Gonda. Since then the Rhythm India Dance Company has enthralled audiences all over the state with their performances. Each year, the goal of Just Dance is to give an opportunity to Rhythm India dancers to illuminate their individuality after having strived all year long. They were the first ever Bollywood dance company to perform at Half Time, and last year they performed at the Houston Rockets NBA game, with a troupe of 104 dancers, during Kobe Bryant’s last game at the Toyota Center. Rhythm India was also the opening act for the Jai Ho – A.R Rahman Concert, in 2010. Amongst a few of their achievements was being featured on the popular TV show The Little Couple on TLC as well as on CNN for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and the very successful workshop with the legendary Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan. Just Dance provides a platform of professional level on-stage performance, fulfilled with stunning costumes, dazzling lighting and sound. It is more than just a recital for all students. This year there were 2 shows, the first one being at 4:00 pm and the second at 8:00 pm, 90 minutes duration each. 270 performers, starting from the age group of four years were present at what was anticipated to be a memorable evening charged with magnificent performances.

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I attended the 8 pm show, which started precisely on time, not a second late. The hall was full with enthusiastic and excited crowd. As it is an Indian tradition to unfold an event with the name of Lord Ganesha, this show too started with a tribute to Him, with a mesmerizing song. This opening act was breathtaking with a superlative and energetic performance of 40 dancers constantly dancing with different props and Ganesha masks. Selecting Sadda dil vi tu from the movie ABCD seemed to be the right choice as it contributed to warming up the ambience and lifting spirits, while perfectly blending as a prayer and a procession of Lord Ganesha.

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Funny bone emcees Namrata Sirur Singh and Pavi Siva Dinamani were up on the stage cracking rib-ticklers in form of a spoof on Koffee with Karan, the crazy act being called Paapsi with Pavi or Nimboo Paani with Namu. They both have a YouTube channel called The 9to5 MisFits. They were hilarious and kept everyone fascinated and engrossed. These chuckle some emcees then went on to interview Dilshad Patel, Rhythm India’s Jhoom Fitness instructor, asking about her adult fitness program to which she shared information about the benefits associated with this program. As the show progressed, the performances continued to charm the audiences. One of the hot favorites was the Bharat Natyam and Kathak Jugalbandi, which was performed to the popular song Mere Dholna. It was indeed inspiring to watch a non-Indian Bharata Natyam dancer perform with perfect expressions and moves. She definitely proved that music knows no boundaries. The last act of this mega event, performed by Rhythm India’s senior company showcased how social media can lead to our lack of attention. This act beautifully portrayed through a love story the ups and downs in today’s relationships. It was performed to a medley of five songs that included the hit Saiyya ji se beak up from the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

This year was very special for Rhythm India because it was the first time that some of its Plano students traveled to Houston for this show. Arthi Gunaseelan, the Manager and instructor in Plano, along with her talented students traveled all the way to Houston to perform a medley of songs, each one being a different dance form. This act really showcased their versatility. They did save the best for the last, mesmerizing and captivating everyone with striking props, rollicking to the tunes of the medley Jia.

Audience was thrilled and impressed with these two shows, charged with electronic energy and exceptional performers who did not fail to outshine. There was an ooze of high flowing energy throughout the fast-paced, well-choreographed display, and this kept the crowd tapping their toes or snapping their fingers. The finale took the crowds to a new high and they suddenly rose up to their feet. It seemed like a beautiful outburst of excitement waiting to happen, after being kept under control all this while. Audiences twisted and twirled, while up on stage the entire cast and crew of the show joined in to groove to the popular Where’s the Party Tonight. The 90-minute non-stop line-up of dance scenes pulsed with color and passion and was so captivating that it kept the audience glued onto their seats throughout. The event flowed smoothly without any hiccups and the credit of these also goes to the back stage manager and the backbone of the entire production Rashna Oak.

Arzan’s shows can be expected to be phenomenon, vibrant, colorful and full of life. And this show lived up to the benchmark she has set for herself. The costumes were extremely striking and it was noticed that there was so much attention to detailing that even the hair ribbons were matching with the costumes. While thanking the audience and appreciating their support, Arzan mentioned that Rhythm India will be performing at Bollywood Blast 2017, one of the biggest Bollywood Dance Event’s in Houston, at the Miller Outdoor Theatre on Sunday, September 3 (Labor Day Weekend). Open auditions for the show will be held on April 23 and 30, at the Rhythm India Studio.

After the remarkable smash hit show Arzan stated, “As a teacher it is wonderful and fulfilling to see how all our dancers have grown over the years, and some over the last few months. I would like to thank all our dancers, their parents and families for their cooperation, understanding and commitment. I would like to thank our entire Rhythm India Staff and Team”.

Upcoming Worshop details:
Rhythm India is excited to announce that they will be hosting an exclusive two-day intensive dance workshop with Shampa Gopikrishna on April 15 & 16 (Saturday & Sunday), at the Rhythm India Dance studio. This workshop is open to anyone above the age of 5 years. Shampa is the daughter of the famous Bollywood actor, dancer, choreographer Gopikrishna. She has won several accolades in her career and one of them is being a winner of the Indian dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. Her choreography has been showcased in classic Bollywood blockbusters like Pinga in Baajirao Mastani, Malang in Dhoom 3 and Neerja.

Rhythm India conducts classes in Stafford, Katy, Sugar Land & Plano

To join the workshop or get further information visit www.rhythm-india.com or email on sandra@rhythm-india.com or call 281 968 9479.

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