Teen to dance at event honouring Mother Teresa

Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012
Mother Teresa
DANCE HONOUR: Michelle Antony, 16, will perform in front of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, and Bishop Patrick Dunn at the Catholic Church of Christ the King.

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Michelle Antony has the honour of dancing before Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the former Governor of the State of West Bengal, India, and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, on November 18.

The Arkles Bay teenager performs her Jesus Geetham Dance at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Mt Roskill at 3pm.

The Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, will officiate this interfaith gathering honouring Nobel Laureate, the late Mother Teresa of Kolkata, India, paying tribute to her service to the poor.

This is not Michelle's first time performing for a large and distinguished audience.

More than 700 guests attended the Bharathanatya Arangetram at the Telstra Pacific Events Centre where Michelle's Jesus Geetham Dance was one of 11 performed on the night.

The teen raised $1200 for the Hibiscus Hospice as a result.

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell was a guest, along with friends and Michelle's family members, many travelling from India and around New Zealand.

Michelle is a year 11 student at KingsWay School and has been learning Bharata Natyam from her guru Kalaichchelvi Uthayakumaran for eight years.

She also teaches the dancing style to four and five-year-olds on Saturdays. Michelle says she loves other dancing, including ballet, Indian folk, salsa, samba, tap and hip hop. She also enjoys contemporary Bollywood dances - a more free style than this more classical discipline.

Michelle stayed in Botany Downs to be closer to her guru, and rehearsed from 8.30am to 9pm daily in the fortnight leading up to the graduation.

The Antony family prepared for 18 months prior, with Michelle's mother Maggie driving her to Botany Downs after school almost every day over the past three months so she could rehearse.

Dr Cecil Antony is a doctor at the Whangaparaoa Medical Centre and Maggie also works at the clinic as practice manager.

Michelle has two older brothers, Clive and Stefan.

"I love being on stage, it's a unique feeling and I have on a special costume, head piece and jewellery, plus the lights are very bright," Michelle says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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