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"Kavitha" performance to benefit NMSU Center for the Arts

In support of the New Mexico State University Center for the Arts, the Arathi School of Indian Dance and community leaders Rama and Ammu Devasthali will present the world-renowned performance "Kavitha" at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Atkinson Recital Hall on the NMSU campus.

Dancers from the Arathi School of Indian Dance will perform "Kavitha" Oct. 17 at the Atkinson Recital Hall with benefits to go to New Mexico State University's Center for the Arts (Courtesy Photo)

Choreographed by Guru Prasanna Kasthuri, "Kavitha" performers will express through dance the exquisite emotions captured in the poetry of Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, Rabindranath Tagore and William B. Yeats.

Originally called "Rainbow" the show was the vision of Kasthuri whose idea for the show was to use poetry from all parts of the world to express emotions of joy, romance, suffering and hope and to convey this to the audience through the medium of dance. The show debuted in St. Louis, Mo., in 2007.

In 2008, the Arathi School decided to produce the show. The school, located in San Antonio, Texas, is a premiere dance organization providing excellence in classical and folk Indian dance training. Kasthuri agreed to work with the school creating a show with dances in Bharathanatyam and Indian folk with a fusion of Flamenco and African dance to the recitations of poetry.

"Whereas other Indian dances are based on religion, this one is not, so it's easy for people to understand," said Kavitha director Kausi Subramaniam, "The show has universal themes of love, freedom and slavery that people from all walks of life can understand and appreciate."

The performance will include 15 dancers from the Arathi school along with the Las Cruces rhythm and percussion ensemble New World Drummers and Dancers and NMSU Theater Arts Department students Sean Darragh, Sean Dolan, Michael Derr, and Roxanne De Luna, who will recite the show's featured poems.

Rama and Ammu Devasthali, who are sponsoring the presentation, have been devoted to the Center for the Arts project. Ammu Devasthali chairs a Volunteer Leadership Advisory Committee working to raise awareness and private donations for the project, and the couple pledged $500,000 to the building of the center's first phase.

Seating for the show will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Pan American ticket office and Ticketmaster outlets. For more information call (575) 646-2008 or 800-342-6678.