Miss India-Brazil, Sohum Bhatt (center) with presenters at the event, Ankita Patro (left), Aakankhya Patro (right). Right: One of the many talented dance groups performing at the TeachAIDS ‘Dance Marathon’ fundraiser.
23
SEP
2010
Dance and compassion brought together the Dallas, Texas community on September 11, 2010. Organized by The Orissa Society of The Americas and the generous Patro Family, the ‘Dance Marathon’ fundraiser featured the most prominent Indian dance groups across the Dallas metroplex to raise funds for TeachAIDS. Miss India-Brazil, Sohum Bhatt, welcomed the audience with a warm and powerful message about the state of AIDS education and TeachAIDS’ corresponding global efforts.

With over 30 volunteers, 40 dancers, and 10 dance schools, ‘Dance Marathon’ brought together youth of all ages to display their talents and passion for the arts, while simultaneously raising HIV/AIDS awareness. Ankita Patro, Senior Project Manager at TeachAIDS, was interviewed by Radio Bharati, the main outlet for broadcasting South Asian community activities, announcements, news, and entertainment to Dallas-Fort Worth listeners.

The professional dance groups included Kuchipudi Kalakshetra, Odissi Kalamandir, Indique Dance Company, Natyanjali Kuchipudi Dance School, Srutilaya School of Indian Dance, DFW Hindu Temple Dance School, Nritya Shakti Dance Academy, Rhythm of Dallas School of Dance, Naach Dance School, and Noopur Dance Academy. This was the first time these professional schools combined their talents and efforts towards a single cause. Together, they performed a unique blend of Western and Indian classical dance forms, including Jugalbhandi, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Rajasthan’s traditional folk dance, and Bollywood/hip-hop fusion items.

The teams were able to raise more than $3000, which was supplemented by a generous grant from the India Association of North Texas, a non-profit formed in 1962 to serve the cultural and educational needs of the North Texas Indian community. The funds raised during ‘Dance Marathon’ will be used to help develop culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS animated materials for the Odia-speaking diasporas in India and beyond (more than 31 million people worldwide speak Odia). The Ganjam district in Odisha has been identified as a hotspot for HIV infections in all of India. India has the third highest national HIV-infected population globally.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Patro Family, The Orissa Society of The Americas, and India Association of Northern Texas for their generosity and dedicated efforts towards making a difference with HIV education.

Photo: Miss India-Brazil, Sohum Bhatt (center) with presenters at the event, Ankita Patro (left), Aakankhya Patro (right). Right: One of the many talented dance groups performing at the TeachAIDS ‘Dance Marathon’ fundraiser.