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Celebrating the centuries-old tradition of Indian dance

One of the world’s oldest dance forms, Indian classical dance has survived for the past 3,000 years by adhering to its traditions. One important tradition is dance students honoring their guru (teacher) in performance. Graduates and alumni of Buffalo’s Natya School of Indian Classical Dance will pay homage to their guru, Tejaswini Rao, in “Abhinandanam,” an evening of classical Indian dance at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts Drama Theatre.

A former associate professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at SUNY Buffalo State, Rao earned international recognition as a dancer performing around the globe including in India, France, the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, where she was honored with the title of Nritya Deepika (Light of Dance). In 1971 she founded Natya School of Indian Classical Dance and has trained more than 400 students.

The program features the dancers in colorful costumes performing an evening of Rao’s choreography in the classical dance forms of Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam, the most popular of the Indian classical dance’s six major styles. The dances, set to Indian music, use rhythmic footwork, abstract body movements, hand gestures and facial expressions to convey stories of devotion and mythology.

Tickets are $26.50 general, $13.50 students (any school). Call 689-2835, (888) 223-6000 or visit

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