The Radiance - Shri Krupa Dance Company Production

Sankara Eye Foundation Presents
Opening 501 Eyes through
The Radiance–A Shri Krupa Dance Company Production

Story by Meena Yeggina • Pictures by SEF

The Radiance, featuring five beautiful high school classical dancers, is just what it defines––brilliance! The event took place on September 23, at the McAfee Center for Performing Arts in Saratoga.

Meghana Chakraborty, Ishana Narayanan, Varunika Raja, Poorvi Satya, and Mounika Narayanan came together to present this spectacular Bharatanatyam ensemble, with one common yet alleviating goal: to give the gift of vision to 501 eyes through the Shankara Eye Foundation (SEF). Have they reached this goal?

“It definitely paid off because we were able to exceed our funding goals, and I was able to gain many new experiences in working with a team, and helping contribute to developing a successful fundraiser,” said Poorvi Satya, a 11th grader who participated in the show. “The overall turnout of the program definitely exceeded my expectations.”

According to Murali Krishnamurthy, founding father of SEF, it exceeded their goal of opening 501 eyes through this show (See interview in box).

The show began with Pushpanjanli by the team Radiance, which showcased all five dancers exhibiting their well-honed classical dance format. This is an auspicious beginning to a recital where the dancers dramatize the offering of flowers. This dance is in offering respects and to take blessings of Nataraja, Lord of Dance and also to the guru who teaches.

“The program actually started as a collaboration of many ideas that came from some of our dads in the group. One of our dads spoke to Murali Krishnamurthy of SEF with the idea of raising money for the foundation, and the vision of ‘opening 501 eyes’ became a reality that everyone loved,” explained Poorvi.

Pushpanjali was followed by solos of all five performers, including Saraswathi Namosthuthe by Meghana Chakraborthy, Aravinda Pada Malar by Ishana Narayanan, Dasavatharam by Varunika Raja, Gita Govindam by Pooorvi Satya, and Ramanukku Mannan Mudi by Mounika Narayanan.

All performers put their soul in their dances and utilized excellent footwork and expressive skills. Their hardwork, dedication and an emotional goal of working for a cause paid off when the 600 seat auditorium was filled to its capacity.

“Balancing school and practice was definitely difficult- especially since I'm in my junior year, but what drove us on the team to practice (other than our parents!) everyday was knowing that all of our hard work contributed to helping a great cause,” said Poorvi, talking for all performers.

The evening, however, wouldn’t have been what it was without the spectacular item by Guru Vishal Ramani. After a long time people got to see her performing a solo. Looking extremely elegant in a light brown-brick colored Kanchivaram saree, she personified the Goddess Kamakshi she depicted in her performance. In this item, which is a prayer to Goddess of Kanchi, Adi Shankara lit the Fire of Knowledgethrough the Earth. Throughout Life, he ignited minds thrrough his vision. Like the Banyan tree, Sankara eye foundation has spread its rootsto Serve and Empower, giving Vision to many. This item was a treat to all traditional classical dance lovers.

In addition to giving its viewers an evening of traditionally rich classical dance performers, the program also elicited contributions from audience enabling 501 eyes to those without vision. Another 250 Indians can see now thanks to SEF and Shri Krupa Dance Company.

“I had always wanted to do an impacting fundraiser where I could raise a significant amount of money towards helping others. I never, however, believed it would happen so soon,” gushed Poorvi. “SEF is an amazing foundation, and knowing that with just $30 for a surgery an eye could be opened gave us the incentive to work towards helping as many people as possible. My team-mates were great and I'm thankful for that.”

She further elaborated that this experience has helped realize how much of an impact one can make on the world by showcasing this art form. “This performance exceeded our goals of raising $15,000, and knowing that hundreds of new eyes will be opened because of us is incredible,” she ended on an emotional note.


“This (Fund-raising through classical dance) is a win-win-win as our cause gets more visibility, good for the children and the community in general as children too become our spokespersons/champions wherever they go”
–– Murali Krishnamurthy,

Founding Father of Sankara Eye Foundation

An Interview

IPM: How did the event go? Were the collections up to your expectations?
This is one of the best events for SEF. It was very well organized, lot of hardwork by the parents and the school, excellent costumes, lighting, dancing, music, wonderful emcees, starting on time and SEF message was beautifully interwoven. I was just overwhelmed with joy watching the five young girls dancing and dedicating this for free eye surgeries. We set a good goal of raising support for 501 free eye surgeries, i.e, $15,030 and we exceeded that.

IPM: Is this the first classical fund raiser you had (especially with local teenagers)? If not what were the others?
No. This is not the first classical fundraiser with local teenagers for SEF. There were several events before. One of the recent ones was the Arangetram of Pooja Chirala (daughter of Anu & Murali Chirala) of the same dance school - Shri Krupa Dance Academy, which was also dedicated to our cause. On September 16th, Erika Baral dedicated her Hindustani Vocal Debut to SEF and it was also the launch of our new project - Focus-Orissa. My daughter Janani Muralidharan dedicated her Arangetram to SEF for the Bangalore Hospital a few years ago and the reception lounge at the Bangalore Hospital is dedicated to the memory of her maternal grandparents.

IPM: Will you continue this trend of encouraging classical art in the Bay Area?
Certainly. This is a win-win-win as our cause gets more visibility, good for the children and the community in general and the children also become our spokespersons/champions wherever they go.

IPM: How did you come across this idea?
In most of the cases, the idea comes from the donors and they execute it. This event, Radiance-Vision 501 was also proposed by the parents of the dancers and they are all our donors.

IPM: Can you tell us a little about this whole experience?
Meena Garu, I consider myself very fortunate for having been literally forced into this by my uncle 15 years ago. After a few years of this work, I realized that a treasure has been forced on us and we should share this joy with everyone. I always think that in this work, we benefit more than the patients who get the gift of vision. I think this is opening our inner eye and we become better people, more confident, happy about ourselves and more loving. When we are happy with ourselves, the whole world looks beautiful and we wholeheartedly share our happiness with everyone and we love each and everyone. When I was sitting and watching the five beautiful girls dancing selflessly to raise support for free eye surgeries, I was overwhelmed with happiness. What more do we need in life? This whole journey is a spiritual experience.

IPM: Any message to our readers?
I know everyone wants to participate in a good cause and they are waiting to find a good cause. There are many good causes and Sankara Eye Foundation is a very good cause, sincerely working towards eradicating curable blindness by the year 2020 - Vision 20/20 by 2020. We are transparent (all our financial information is on our website) and honest and we always believe in doing the right thing, the right way. Donor's money is treated as divine gift and is handled as such. We all know that we are benefiting more than our patients and that helps us keep humble and we also know that a lot more needs to be achieved with all your help. Please come and join us, help us complete our tenth hospital, coming up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, help us with our future projects - Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh etc., and support our free eye surgeries. We will perform over 150,000 free eye surgeries this year.

Jyot se jyot jalate chalo, prem ki Ganga bahate chalo, raha mein aye jo deen dukhi, sabko gale se lagate chalo, prem ki Ganga bahate chalo.