From Cancer Lab to Dancing to Eradicate Curable Blindness

NEW YORK (TIP): When cancer biologist Dr.Arti Datta turned inward and decided to pursue her passion for dance a decade ago, little did she know she was on a path to taking her interest to a whole new level, with the founding of the non profit The Mudra Foundation: Art for a Cause.

The debut production of the non-profit titled WATER: The Flow of the Divine held on the 27th of April, thrilled, inspired and educated the packed audience at the Madison Theater in Rockville Center, NY. Planned as the 10th Anniversary celebration of Mudra Dance Studio, Muttontown, NY, it was held as a benefit concert for Sankara Eye Foundation, the renowned organization that’s committed to eradicating curable blindness in rural India. “All through civilization water has connected people, cultures and continents.

The inspiration behind Water: the Flow of the Divine, is not just to connect the medium of dance to an altruistic cause but also to connect various talented artistes within Long Island and New York City to come together symbiotically”, said Dr.Arti Datta. The program opened auspiciously with a shloka on Apah – water in Sanskrit, by Dr. Sanjay Doddamani.

This was followed by a sequence of dances rendered in the Bharathanatyam, Kathak, Odissi and Mohiniattam traditions, each interpreting water in their own unique style. The dances educated audiences on a variety of water-related concepts like, the descent of the Ganges, the significance of the Kalasha and the birth of Brahma in a lotus, among others.

Semi classical dances set to the composition of esteemed artistes like Gulzar, Bikram Ghosh and Shanker Mahadevan brought out other dimensions of water. A splash of lighthearted folk dances added variety and flair to the lineup. There were exquisitely rendered guest performances by Vaishali Chaudhuri, Mala Desai, Preya Patel and Aarati Ramanand and their students as well as the schools of Savitri Ramanand, Syed Tirmizi and Swati Vaishnav.

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One of the highlights of the evening was a moving performance by Dr.Arti Datta along with her daughters Tanya and Saumya. “The Mudra Foundation: Art for a Cause is a long nurtured dream. What better time to bring it to fruition than on the 10th Anniversary of my dance school. Like they say – you can’t stop an idea whose time has come!” said Dr. Arti Datta, Founder President of the non-profit.

An interesting deviation from the water theme was a performance by senior students of The Mudra Dance Studio that was especially choreographed as a dedication to the Sankara Eye Foundation. The NY chapter coordinator of SEF, Ms. Kanika Marwaha addressed the audience eloquently and gave an overview of their goals and vision for the next decade. The host of the evening was thoracic surgeon, Dr. Shahriyour Andaz.

Dr.Arti Datta was recently nominated by the India Association of Long Island (IALI) as one of “The Most Influential People in the Indian -American Community”. For more details of The Mudra Foundation: Art for a Cause please visit www.The Or, contact Arti Datta at (516) 884 7862.

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