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Pennsylvania to India.

Five years ago, Slippery Rock University guest artist Jaya Mani invited students to travel from their Pennsylvania campus to her hometown of Chennai, India, to study Bharata Natyam. Two took her up on the offer, and through SRU's Dance in India initiative, students have journeyed there every year since to study with renowned teacher Revathi Ramachandran.

While there, SRU students taught classes in jazz, tap, and hip hop. Last summer they performed their own solos at the International Dance Alliance's 2007 festival in Chennai and performed with Ramachandran's company at a temple 43 miles south of Chennai.

Ramachandran brings the students to the Chidambaram temple, where Nataraja, the god of dance, is the main deity. A priest guides them among the ancient stone carvings of Bharata Natyam karanas, the dance form's movement vocabulary.

"Dancing in India was a great and rewarding challenge," says senior student Lindsay Armstrong. "We learned about the culture, the religion, and the beauty of India. I feel as if I have a second family there."

Upon their return to SRU, the dancers perform Ramachandran's choreography at the annual Dance in India lecture-demonstration, which serves as a fundraiser for the initiative. Four students have applied to go this July.
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Title Annotation:ACROSS THE FLOOR
Author:Holland, Nola Nolen
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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