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Indian Dance Assembly a Hit at Hillside

Dancers and kids on floor watching Indian DancersIn a day of unity and cultural exploration at Hillside earlier this month, the entire student body and staff enjoyed – and participated in - an assembly by Indian dance company Ajna Dance.
Sponsored by the PTSA, the assembly began with a brief video illustrating the evolution of dances in South Asia through history. Dressed in colorful traditional costume, the dancers performed a variety of folk and modern dances, teaching the students several movements and inviting them to join in.
“The presentation was wonderful,” said Hillside music teacher Katie Concra, calling it “an assembly … unlike anything Hillside has seen before. It's another example of how Hillside strives to provide our students with experiences from many different cultures.”
Ajna fosters cultural inclusion through Indian dance programming for students of all ages and backgrounds by exploring culture, history, geography and the South Asian diaspora through dance and music.
The performers also taught the students “how to show a myriad of feelings through movement and facial expressions,” said Hillside Principal Amy Cazes. Students immediately took to this concept.
“The dancing made me feel happy,” said kindergarten student Jameson S.
Dancers and kids on floor watching Indian Dancers“It was cool to see different cultures and dance right here at Hillside!” added his sister, fourth grader Lilah.
Thanking the PTSA for arranging what she called an “amazing” assembly, and for funding their visit, Cazes said the performance was “truly a hit! The energy was HIGH,” she wrote in a letter to PTSA chairs Melissa Sbrega and Stacey Merchant. 
(May 29, 2022)