On June 30, Jhanak Dance Academy, a Western-Sydney based Indian classical and Bollywood dance school, presented a night of splendour, replete with eye-catching costumes and dazzling performances at the Bowman Hall in Blacktown.
This colourful celebration was inaugurated by Hon Kevin Connolly Member of Parliament for Riverstone and presented by AAA Fuel installation and GCT Sydney.
Jhankaar Beats was the brainchild of Punam Gaurkhede, a dance teacher specialising in Kathak and Bollywood. Born in India, she finished her Bachelors in Performing Arts and completed her Kathak Visharad. She went on to choreograph many dance performances having been under the tutelage of Jaipur gharana Pandit Narshinhaji Bode. After arriving in Australia, she decided to continue her passion through Jhanak Dance Academy And that was what Jhankaar Beats was for, a showcase of the talents present in Jhanak Academy.
The night started with a tribute to the Hindu God, Ganesh. It was a combination of three performances, each welcoming the audience in, showing a small taste of what the rest of the night held.
The rest of the performances were equally as mesmerising. The variety of ages and talent in Jhanak Academy was very apparent. Children as young as four were performing and visibly giving their best. The sheer enthusiasm on their faces and in their actions were plain to see.
The night was clearly a community effort, as one could see parents helping their own children, and other children, get ready. Some parents directed people to their seats, handled tickets or food, while other parents were backstage making sure everything was running smoothly.
Throughout the night, various raffles and games were held. People were selected for various awards such as ‘Best Dressed’, and maximum audience involvement was achieved.
However, the most audience involvement was seen in the reaction to two performances, both completely unalike. One was an incredibly energetic and electrifying performance to the song ‘Khali Bali’, the reaction to it so enthusiastic, that the audience earned an encore performance. The lights display, incorporated with the smoke made for a scary atmosphere, heightening the frenetic dance movements of the performers. The other performance was the Kathak choreography to ‘Shree Ram Chandra’. The costumes, the expressions of the performers, as well as their delicate movements made for a wonderful story, depicted skilfully through the dancers’ strong actions. Despite the many people on stage, it never looked crowded, as the dancers gracefully went through their routine, serenely moving across the stage.