On March 12, 2016, Laasya, the nation's oldest and most prestigious intercollegiate Indian classical dance competition will take place for the very first time in California, at the El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater in the Bay Area. Founded by Boston University and MIT in 2010, Laasya has traveled far and wide, being hosted by various universities throughout the country. This year, Natya at Berkeley (UC Berkeley's Bharatanatyam team) has the honor, after placing among the top three at Laasya 2015, to host the competition. Ten collegiate classical teams, from universities such as Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, and more, will visit the Bay Area to perform unique pieces they have choreographed and perfected all year, and compete for the championship title at Laasya 2016.
Laasya is a unique platform for young Indian classical dancers to express their creativity while celebrating their culture and cultivating their talent. Each team explores and portrays a wide range of subjects through their performance piece, which the entire team works on together to produce, despite having learned from different gurus prior to joining the team. Pieces are usually a confluence of various Indian classical styles, such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi. Each team's piece has a theme; pieces could deal with retelling classic Indian tales from a new perspective, exploring stories from other world cultures, or calling attention to societal issues. In this way, collegiate Indian classical dance teams push the boundaries of Indian classical dance.
Laasya's main goal is to preserve and to encourage the pursuit of the various ancient art forms that Indian classical dance is comprised of. Laasya is an exciting environment to learn about these dance forms, and enjoy the teams' modern take on them. It also helps cultivate the talents of classical dancers throughout college, beyond many of their arangetrams.
What makes Laasya more unique is that it is completely student run. Students at UC Berkeley arrange all aspects of Laasya 2016, from raising funds to put on the event, to organizing all performances, to publicizing events. Contributions to help students fund this operation can be made at laasya2016.causevox.com.
Laasya is open to anyone who is interested in the classical arts. Tickets to view the performance for the general public are priced at $18, and can be purchased at bit.ly/laasyatickets. Tickets for UC Berkeley students and professors are priced at $15, and can be purchased on the UC Berkeley campus.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Asha for Education, Berkeley, to fund their projects that strive to improve the quality of life for children in India. More information about their projects can be found at http://www.ashanet.org/berkeley/.
Do not miss the chance to be a part of this one-of-a-kind event! By attending Laasya 2016, you are encouraging the talents of young dancers and donating to a great cause.
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