Indian dance fosters learning, captivates crowd

Photo by Hans Ogren

Photo by Hans Ogren

Septembre Russell
Linfield supported traditional music and dance from India with a presentation March 7, sponsored by the music department, the Dean’s Office and International Programs.
Dr. Nisha Joshi, director of Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music, and Chaz Hastings, a seasoned Indian percussionist, accompanied by a guitarist and keyboardist, regaled the audience through a combination of vocal, sitar and tabla performances.
The purpose of the concert was to introduce music and dance of India together, because they are closely related, Music Department Chair Faun Tiedge said.
“In our curriculum, we like to offer some opportunities in broadening the musical experience,” Tiedge said. “It’s an important part of our curriculum to present music of diverse cultures, not only western music.”
Joshi’s performance was complemented by a presentation of dances from Navarasa School of Indian Classical Dance students. The concept began with the musicians, Tiedge said, and that Dr. Joshi contacted the head of the Navarasa school to extend an invitation to perform, as well.
“In their community, studying the music and dance arts of their culture is something they try to preserve in young people to keep it alive,” Tiedge said. “If young people stop studying the music and dance of India, it will disappear.”
The turnout for the event was wonderful, Tiedge said.
“Since we’re not in Portland where students can go to the music, we really do have to bring the music to the students,” she said. “People from all over seemed to have come; there were students and community and many people who drove in from Beaverton and Portland.”
Junior Heidi Vanden Bos said she enjoyed the performance.
“It was very different from what I’m used to because, of course, it was a different cultural type of music,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into it, but parts of it I really enjoyed.”
Because Linfield hosts so many international students and sponsors trips abroad, it is important to foster intercultural communication, Vanden Bos said.
”It’s good for students like myself to realize there are other types of music out there besides just the western culture,” she said. “I was glad that I was able to go.”
Next year, the music department will recognize an important grant in Chinese studies, Tiedge said, with a special concert of music from Asia in connection with Chinese cultural studies.
“I was excited that this concert, which was open to the campus and community, was well attended by both and that we feel very fortunate to be able to sponsor these concerts free and open to the public,” she said. “In these times [it is] just very special that we can continue to offer high-quality
concerts.”

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