On Saturday February 19, 2022 — By the Students of Pitt A Competitive Indian Classical Dance Program Raising Funds for A Good Cause

By Stuthi Iyer and Roma Usgoankar,  Dhirana, Pittsburgh

Dhirana is Pittsburgh’s premier competitive Indian classical dance event, hosted annually by students from the University of Pittsburgh. It is the only nationally recognized competitive program featuring Indian classical dance styles such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi. Every year, eight collegiate Indian classical dance teams from across the nation are invited to compete in the Dhirana event. World-renowned judges, who are dance teachers or practicing artistes (often both) and committed to preserving the tradition of these ancient art forms, evaluate the teams on nritta (intricate footwork), mudras (hand gestures), abhinaya (facial expressions), and other aspects of the dance. Every year, hundreds of people come and enjoy this spectacular program, immersing themselves in the ancient Indian story-telling tradition.

After hosting Laasya 2012, Nrityamala, the host team, created Dhirana with your support and the enthusiastic involvement of students to foster interest in Indian classical dances and raise funds for a Pittsburgh charity. All proceeds from ticket and food sales at Dhirana go to the Birmingham Free Clinic located in the South Side in Pittsburgh.

Dhirana Winners (Penn State) with the trophy (2020).

The Birmingham Free Clinic provides for the uninsured community-based collaborative critical medical care with compassion and dignity. The services offered at the clinic include cardiology, free eye care through Guerrilla Eye Service, ear nose and throat, dermatology, pediatrics, smoking cessation, diabetes, and gynecology. The clinic depends on volunteer teams of physicians, pharmacists, and nurses. In a single year, the clinic provides treatment to more than 3,000 patients, and the number is only increasing, and they need all the help they can get.

The Dhirana Volunteers at the Clinic in Fall 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased job insecurity and unemployment, more and more people depend on the clinic for their medical care. Dhirana is pleased to announce that over the past TEN years, we have donated $105,000 to the Birmingham Free Clinic, which has funded a 12-lead EKG device for the clinic, covered medication costs for patients, provided a consistent source of income for the Clinic’s annual budget, and most importantly, positively impacted the lives of thousands in the Pittsburgh area.

All participants at the Dhirana event in 2019

This year, we are striving to make our show bigger and better than ever. To put on a show of this magnitude, we depend on your generosity and support to cover the $16,500 expenses. We have been supported for the past decade by the Srinivasa Prasad International Foundation for the Performing Arts (SPIFPA). 

Please support our efforts by reaching out to Dhirana’s Sponsorship Chairs, Stuthi Iyer and Roma Usgoankar, at dhirana.sponsorship@gmail.com, and take a look at our Sponsorship Packet at shorturl.at/pzMW2. We hope that you will join us on Saturday February 19th, 2022, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Please follow us on Facebook or stay updated at dhirana.com for ticket sales and updates!   ∎END


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