Indian dancer to perform in Arts at Noon series

By Arie Nienhuis | 3/12/18 2:20am

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GVL / Courtesy - sanjuktabanerjee.com

In terms of performance art, it is likely that dance is the form that is most commonly understood and appreciated by the general public. Soon, students will be able to experience this form of art through a performance from Indian dancer Sanjukta Banerjee.

Banerjee is an Indian classical dancer with an extensive history in her craft. She has appeared in a number of Indian films, as well as live performances, and has spent a large amount of time touring throughout the world. She will be taking her craft to Grand Valley State University on Wednesday, March 21, at noon in the Cook-DeWitt Center as part of the ongoing Arts at Noon series.

The Arts at Noon series brings many famous musicians and performers to GVSU for hour-long performances that any student can attend for free. Hannah Seidel, assistant professor of modern dance at GVSU, shared some thoughts on the series, as well as on dance as a whole.

“Events like Arts at Noon give the Grand Valley community a chance to connect to the larger world and to each other,” Seidel said via email. “Visiting performers bring their rich histories, knowledge and artistry from around the world.”

While Seidel has not seen a performance from Banerjee in person, she has seen other performances in Banerjee’s Bharatanatyam style, and Seidel said she was amazed at the intricacy, control and subtle power the art form requires.

Henry Duitman, associate professor and conductor of the GVSU Symphony Orchestra, believes that seeing dance performances is beneficial for anyone who goes out of their way to attend events like this. 

“Dance brings the visual aspect to music,” Duitman said via email. “In a very real sense, (it) can make any musical experience more memorable. (Students) can see how universal human emotions can be expressed equally well through dance from another culture.”

Seidel said dance performances can be appreciated by all kinds of people, making it an accessible art form.

“One strength of dance is how movement can be intuitively interpreted by anyone who witnesses it, whether that means being amazed by the abilities of highly trained performers or recognizing meaning in gestures from everyday life in a duet between two dancers,” she said. 

Seidel also views dance performances, as well as exposure to art in general, as great ways to spur students to think in different ways and expand their margin of creativity with its nearly universal appeal. 

“The expression of creativity makes people unique,” Seidel said. “Exposure to and participation in the arts can help students train themselves to color outside the lines and think outside the box.”

In terms of getting involved with the arts, both Seidel and Duitman view GVSU’s many programs and student organizations as fantastic ways for students to put themselves into the art community. 

“Students who are interested in the arts have excellent opportunities at GVSU to see performances and exhibits, take classes and become involved in a huge variety of student organizations,” Seidel said.

More information can be found at www.gvsu.edu/artsatnoon

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