Silver Anniversary Celebrations At Utkarsh Dance Academy

Appeal For Fund-Raiser – ‘Natyaratna’


Based in Surat, the globally renowned Utkarsh Dance Academy LLP, has been devoted to preserving India’s cultural heritage through Classical and Indian Folk dances, for 25 years now. On the occasion of its shimmering Silver Anniversary, Utkarsh Dance Academy, founded by Behnaz Todiwala (Art Director), will hold its Silver Anniversary event on Saturday, 16th November, 2019, titled ‘Natyaratna’ – a Classical Dance Presentation and ‘Shivoham – Dvadashalingas’ – A narrative of 12 Jyotirlingas. The Fund-raiser, ‘Natyaratna’ is a Charity Dance Show which provides a platform to the Academy’s skilled classical dancers and showcases their talent.

It has always been Utkarsh’s mission to nurture, train and provide an environment to students to foster the true spirit of art, self-growth and encourage those willing to learn. This year’s show promises to be an extravaganza with over 225 talented artists performing, comprising children from the age of 7 to 15 years, youth between 18 to 25 years of age and adults the age of 35 to 45 years, as part of this Grand Cultural Celebration. To be held in Surat’s Sanjivkumar Auditorim (Pal), ‘Natyaratna’, with its vivid expression of emotions, comprises short dances, based on a signature repertoire. ‘Natyaratna’ begins with renditions by Ganesh Stuti on Piano, Saxophone and Thavil; followed by the fusion of Lawani and Bharatnatyarn; live Bhangra with Bharatnatyam Jatis; Tillana on different Taranas and a musical repertoire showcasing four different classical styles. All the performances will be performed on live as well as recorded music. This will be followed by ‘Shivoham – Dvadashalingas’ – a narrative of 12 Jyotirlingas, an ode to Lord Shiva or Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, whose dance animates the universe from within. The narrative will portray not only the artistic expressions of Bharatnatyam but will also vividly describe the stories of the 12 Jyotirlingas while sharing a crucial social message.

Says Founder, Behnaz Todiwala, “I’m a proud Parsi practicing India’s ancient Classical Dance form – Bharatnatyam. As I hail from a middle-class family background, it has always been important for me to give back to society. I chose to channelize my expertise in classical art forms by establishing Utkarsh Dance Academy, LLP in Surat in 1994. Utkarsh’s evolution as an Internationally renowned Institution for learning Indian Classical dance: Bharatnatyam, Folk and Bollywood dance is a reflection of my aesthetic vision and my team’s contribution. It’s been an immense honor for me to be the only Parsi woman in India today teaching Bharatnatyam to over 800 students from all walks of life, every year!”

 Utkarsh Dance Academy is an ISO 9001:2015 certified and government registered dance academy, globally recognized as India’s premier institution for learning Indian Classical Dance, Bharatnatyam, Folk Dances and Bollywood Dances. Having trained over 5,000 students across its four thriving branches in Surat City, Utkarsh Dance Academy is an active member of ‘CIOFF’ India and ‘European Association of Folklore Festivals (EAFF), both official partners of UNESCO, with over a thousand of its students having participated in numerous international youth and folk dance festivals in countries like Spain, Italy, China, Malaysia, Austria, France, Belgium, Greece, Korea, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Portugal and Switzerland.

From 2018 we have started doing Charity shows wherein whatever sponsorships we get is used to promote those students in the field of Art who are talented but financially weak. Since 2019 February, around 25 students’ air tickets were sponsored by Utkarsh providing them the opportunity to perform at the famous Guruvayur Temple Festival. In March 2019, 10 more students were given an opportunity to perform at the Chidambaram Natyanjali Festival on Maha Shivratri, one of India’s most prestigious Classical Dance Festivals. Additionally, numerous talented students were funded partly by Utkarsh for completing their BA and MA in Bharatanatyam as also to participate in International Dance Festivals where Utkarsh was invited to represent India.

A Bharatnatyam connoisseur, committed to the practice for 40 years, Behnaz Todiwala is a Gold Medallist in BA (Visharad) and MA (Alankar) in Bharatnatyam, making her the first Parsi woman in Gujarat and the third Parsi pan-India in the field of Bharatnatyam. She has been felicitated with innumerable prestigious national and international awards for her outstanding contribution in the field of Indian Classical and Folk Dances.

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