Jiva Performing held its second annual gala in New York City on November 6th. The non-profit, which exists to promote Indian classical music and dance in NYC hosted an exciting evening featuring performances by talented musicians, dancers and comedians, cocktails, dinner and dancing. Internationally acclaimed film director and producer Mira Nair was the evening keynote speaker. The annual gala, which will help support the organization’s growing efforts to create engaging Indian classical music and dance programming in the NYC area, was held at the Congregation Rodeph Shalom in NYC.
Hundreds of music and dance lovers, dressed in festive Indian attire, mixed and mingled with community supporters and Board members. The evening began with a cocktail reception followed by a formal dinner and entertainment. Comedian Dan Nainan emceed the evening that featured a live musical showdown by Jay Gandhi, Nitin Mitta and Bala Skandan followed by an excerpt of Jiva Dance’s latest production, Mayura: Blue Peacock, based on the Bharatanatyam tradition. NYC based Bukhara Grill catered a decadent Indian feast while Globe DJs got everyone on their feet by the end of the night.
A sari clad Mira Nair took the stage and raved about her appreciation for the Indian arts in the US. Stating the importance of carrying down the tradition from one generation to the next, she shared her own personal experiences of learning from her elders. Mira Nair also announced that her award winning film, Monsoon Wedding is soon to become a live Broadway production. Mira Nair’s debut film, Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival. She used the proceeds of the film to establish an organization for street children, called the Salaam Baalak Trust in India. Nair has won a number of awards, including a National Film Award and various international film festival awards, and was awarded the India Abroad Person of the Year award in 2007. In 2012, she was awarded India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, by the President of India, Pratibha Patil.
Jiva was founded in 2007 by husband and wife team of Indian classical dancer Sonali Skandan and Indian classical musician Bala Skandan. Jiva, in its 7 year history, has organized numerous events that focus on the performing arts of India – from ongoing classes in Indian dance and music, master level workshops by senior gurus, performances by renowned artists from India and from home, as well as the creation of new artistic work to pass on the legacy of these rich art forms. Through Jiva’s dedication to high quality education and programming, as well as a close-knit and supportive community, Jiva has become one of the more visible South Asian Arts organizations in NYC
“We are so delighted that so many of our supporters and well-wishers came out to support the event. It was a very exciting evening of beautiful performances and colorful people, and the highlight was the inspiring speech by Mira Nair which helps to reinforce our vision – creativity without fear with a deep respect for tradition.” says Artistic Director, Sonali Skandan.
The Jiva Performing Arts Gala helped raise over $35,000 for the organization. The funds generated through the gala will be used to develop educational and arts programming in NYC. Jiva plans to introduce more classes, hire part-time teachers and produce more engaging and accessible Indian classical dance and music events in the city. Jiva’s long-term goal is to secure dedicated studio and performance space to create a center for music and dance in NYC.