Kalpita’s charity dance to help the blind

Kalpita's dance performance

Kalpita’s dance performance

NEW YORK: Kalpita Chakote, a rising senior at George W. Hewlett High School, New York helped raise over $7,000 to prevent blindness and restore eyesight by giving a charity dance performance in Port Washington last week.

Kalpita is the daughter of Dr. Vajinath Chakote, president of AAPI- QLI and a leading Indian-American physician of Long Island and Jyoti Chakote.

The combined Bharatanatyam and Bollywood dance performance at Jeanne Rimsky Theater drew loud appreciation from a discerning audience that included Tom Suozzi, former Nassau County Executive and Democratic Party Congressional candidate.

Kalpita, a student of Guru Satya Pradeep, Artistic Director of Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy, commenced her program with Pushpanjali, a traditional welcome and prayer in praise of Lord Ganesha and exhibited various rhythmic patterns.

She followed it up with an item on Ardhanareeswara and explained the merger of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi in Ragamalika. She danced to the Hindustani number Deva Devam Bhaje, a famous Annamacharyakeertan on Lord Ram and ended the segment with a Thillana – a joyful conclusion of the recital. All the four were choreographed by Satya Pradeep.

The second half saw her on an upbeat mood by dancing the famous Bollywood song “1, 2, 3, 4 Get on the dance floor” from the movie Chennai Express. She performed Gunday’s Jiya, Chennai Express’ Titli and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’s Ram Chahe Leela.

She also danced to the famous numbers – Bajirao Mastani’s Pinga and Devdas’ Dola re Dola. These dances were choreographed by Guru Archana Phillip. She ended the performance with Drake’s One Dance, Dhoom-3’s Dhoom machale and Calvin Harris’s ‘This is what you came for’ choreographed by Guru Nikhil Sadhnani.

A student of Bharatanatyam since she was six and trained by guru Satya Pradeep, she is good at Bollywood dance as well. Under the tutelage of gurus Archana Phillip and Nikhil Sadhnani, she was able to excel in the dance form and performed Bollywood dances at several fundraisers including for St.

Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Himalayan Development Foundation. She plays flute and excels in the 100 yard butterfly swim.

“Dancing is my way of expressing my emotions and relating to others. I am happy that our team collected more than $7,000 to help restore eye sight and prevent blindness,” she said
“I have a severe astigmatism, irregularities in the curvature of my eyes. It has made me extremely nearsighted. It used to affect me when I danced. Before I had contact lenses and I danced without my glasses. I couldn’t see anything on stage. I was looking at complete darkness. I just had to trust that someone would catch me if I were too close to the edge of the stage. Sometimes my jewelry fell off, and I couldn’t see where it was. I just had to ignore it and hope that I wouldn’t step on it.

I am lucky because those situations were isolated events. I do not have to relive those moments. However, not being able to see and hoping nothing goes wrong are aspects of some people’s daily lives. They don’t have eye care. I stumbled upon Seva Foundation whose mission is to restore eyesight and prevent blindness. I wanted to help because I knew what they faced.”

Seva Foundation is a global non-profit eye care organization that helps and strengthens communities by restoring eye sight and preventing blindness. The organization has helped four million blind regain eyesight in more than 20 countries, she said.

Prakash Swamy

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