Crowd participating in Dandiya dance. (Vasudha Badri-Paul | Siliconeer)
I was lucky to attend the largest Dandiya event in the bay area with my daughter. The event took place at the Santa Clara convention Center, Oct. 23, on a 67,000 sq.ft. dance floor. The colorful event attracted around 6,500 people, families with kids, and groups of singles, out to have fun for a cause, writes Vasudha Badri-Paul.
As always, Sankara’s Dandia 2015 was completely sold out, many days prior to the event, making it a much sought after Friday night activity in the Bay Area. The theme for the fun-filled event was “Dandia for a cause – Dandia with style.” The trending twitter hashtag was #SEFDandia. This particular fundraiser was to raise money for their new hospital in Indore, India.
The gathering was very colorful, with several participants both male and female, dressed in traditional multicolored outfits. Dandiya sticks were available for those that did not have a pair.
A cafeteria in the far corner served pizza, wraps, and drinks and the few stalls had vendors selling tea and offering services. Everything was very well organized with several Sankara volunteers helping with different tasks and keeping the crowd moving smoothly from the entrance to the dance floor.
The event ran for 5 hours and the talented Los Angeles band, Preetysha and Sameer, performed for an enthusiastic crowd. There was also a splendid bharatnatyam dance performance prior to the floor being opened for the fun Dandiya dancing.
The dancing sequence for the event was “Garba” prior to the Aarti, a prayer to God and “Dandiya” afterwards. Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat, India, and is associated with scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan. The altar on the floor depicted deities and images associated with the festivals and offerings were made for their blessings for all humanity.
Sankara Eye Foundation gives free eye surgeries to children and adults in India who are visually handicapped. Sankara has a chain of 13 eye hospitals comprising a team of 200 doctors, 600 paramedical professionals, 275 support staff and total bed strength of 1,800. It has treated and performed more than 1.2 million Free Eye Care surgeries and every day about 500 eye care surgeries are performed in Sankara Hospitals. The movement was founded by Dr. R.V. Ramani and Dr. Radha Ramani in 1977. Currently there are 13 hospitals all over India, from the South to the North, with 3 more opening in the near future, in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Hyderabad.