Celebration of culture
Yashee and Vanshee Kumar are spectacular performers.
The teenage sisters from Bucklands Beach are accomplished in the classical South Indian dance form bharatnatyam.
The pair will be performing tomorrow evening as part of this week's Hindi Week Celebrations 2012.
Event organiser Satya Dutt says the Kumars' performance at Papatoetoe High School will be one of the highlights of the week, and he expects hundreds of people to attend.
"There are about 153,000 Indians in New Zealand," he says.
The theme of the week is "our language, our culture, our identity" and one if its goals is to preserve the language and culture among the descendants of Indian immigrants.
Yashee, 15, and Vanshee, 14, performed their rangapravesham - which means "ascending the stage" in Sanskrit - earlier this year and it is the highest achievement in the religious dance.
Their father Shalendra Kumar says he spent a "significant sum of money" on the free event at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre on April 14, including flying musicians out from India.
Seven hundred people packed out the theatre to see the Macleans College students' four-hour performance which qualified them to teach bharatnatyam.
Macleans College Mansfield house leader Todd Davidson saw the rangapravesham and says it was spectacular.
"It was absolutely unreal. I've never seen anything like it," he says.
The performance kept his 7-year-old daughter riveted for hours, which is no easy task, he says.
"Ultimately, the girls themselves are spectacular - they're really good. They're the ideal students, they involve themselves in everything and then to hear they were doing this dance on top was remarkable."
Mr Kumar says the girls practised for hours every day for three weeks in the lead-up to the event.
"We are proud parents as they are very pleasant, disciplined and good kids."
Mr Dutt is president of the Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand formed in 2009 to promote Indian culture.
"Last year we had a one-day celebration and we had heaps of support and then this year we decided to have it all of this week starting from Monday."
Twenty-one speakers from 19 schools around Auckland took part in an oratory competition earlier this week, and tonight there is a children's evening at Papatoetoe High School.
Search for "Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand" on Facebook for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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