The first week of Lotus Blossoms was a beautiful whirlwind of Indian folk traditions with our new friends, Kalapriya. By the time the group headed back to their home base in Chicago, Pranita Jain, Anu Bhatt, and Rouchana Igoudina had traveled four counties and introduced more than 2,000 children to the intricate beauty – and story telling – of Bharata Natyam dance.
Lotus Outreach Director Loraine Martin had high praise for the group. “Kalapriya is remarkably versatile,” she says. “They’re amazing dancers, for one thing, but they are also talented teaching artists who have developed a strong outreach program. During their time with Lotus, we watched them continually adapt to different audiences – pre-K, elementary, middle and high school, and students challenged by learning difficulties. It was awe inspiring.”
Since Lotus’s first spring programs in 2001, Lotus Blossoms has introduced more than 100,000 southern Indiana kids to the art and culture of countries around the world. Featured musicians have come from Tuva, Australia, Rwanda, Canada, Vietnam, Ecuador, China, Japan, South Africa, Russia, and the U.S.; this year marked our first exploration of Indian dance.
“Lotus Blossoms is truly a gem in our community,” says Lotus Executive Director Sunni Fass. “These vibrant spring programs are often below the radar for our fall Festival-goers, but I think we’re making progress in changing that. When we bring a Lotus artist into a school, we reach out directly to our youngest audiences. A whole new world enters their classrooms and their imaginations. It’s incredibly inspiring and vital work.“
There are more Blossoms on the horizon. This week, Ivory Coast artist Sogbety Diomande performs exclusively for students; he’s followed later this month by the Canadian Quebecois trio Genticorum, who will present a free public workshop on Quebecois music and dance traditions as part of their visit. And be sure to come to Family Day at the World Bazaar, on March 29; it’s chock full of multicultural arts and activities designed for kids in grades K-6.
You can help! Become a Lotus Blossoms sponsor to support bringing Lotus artists into our south-central Indiana schools. Contact Development Director Kristin Varella (812-336-6599 or kristin [at] lotusfest [dot] org), or use the “Donate” link on this page.
Photo credits, from top:
Pranita Jain teaches Eminence students hand gestures, photo by Josh Perry; Anu Bhatt at Eastern Greene Elementary, photo by Jeremy Hogan; Eminence students talk to the dancers after the performance; Kalapriya performing at Pinnacle School, staff photo