Diwali celebration to shine light on Pleasanton schools' music program

Nov. 7 Indian holiday festival aims to raise money for district's band, orchestra

A celebration of the Indian holiday Diwali is coming to Pleasanton next month to raise money for the school district's band and orchestra programs.

Dandiya Night 2015 will feature a celebration for Diwali, a Hindu festival called the "festival of lights," with dance performances and food to fundraise for the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation, event coordinator Viji Manickam said.

The Nov. 7 event, set for 5-10 p.m. at Amador Valley High, will feature five styles of classical Indian dancing, as well as a Bollywood performance by Amador Valley students. Short dance classes will be taught between performances, and dinner will be served.

"We also want to bring awareness to the community's diversity," she said. "It's for the whole community to experience. The event is not (just) for the Indians; it's for the whole community."

Manickam, a 15-year Pleasanton resident, said she's never seen an Indian holiday publicly celebrated in town, and she wants to share the liveliness and energy of Indian celebrations with the community.

She said Indian American children rarely get the opportunity to see all of India's classical dances, and the fundraiser will bring in artists from across the Bay Area to cover as many as possible, including bharatanatyam, kuchipudi, kathak, odissi and mohiniyattam, as well as the modern Bollywood dances seen in popular movies.

She said the money raised will go toward buying instruments for Pleasanton Unified School District's music programs so students don't have to purchase their own instruments to participate. Funding will also go toward some Indian cultural clubs at Pleasanton schools, such as Amador Valley's Bhangra and Bollywood clubs.

Tickets can be purchased online at Event Brite by searching "PUSDandiya 2015." Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are free for children 3 and younger.

Manickam said organizers haven't decided yet whether tickets will be sold at the door, but food might not be available for those who buy tickets the day of the event.


2 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm

I'm close to a woman who studied with Balasaraswhati and her daughter Lakshmi when there were connected to the Center for World Music in Berkeley, CA. Initially, the Center for World Music was a part of Mills College, Oakland.

Musicians and dancers came from all over the world and trained American dancers, was THRILLING!

It's wonderful to know that you are planning to raise money for the arts!


There's a wonderful video by Douglas Knight online re: Bala and her contributions to classical Indian dance. It's wonderful to hear and read what Douglas has to say. You will not be disappointed. Thank you for you good deeds.

2 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Web Link

The above is the book about Balasraswati by Douglas M. Knight, the husband of her daughter, Lakshami Knight.

3 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Satyagit Ray film about BALA: Web Link

Don't forget young ladies, you have roots that back thousands of years. Thank you for preserving your culture! VIVA!

Like this comment
Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Students: Web Link

Interview with Douglas M. Knight Jr. re: above video in 2 Parts.

This is part one. enjoy....

7 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm

I think this is a good step / change. I've been to several School fundraising events and the demographic of the participants is very different than the school demographic. I think finding cultural interests that help encourage participation in the schools is an excellent way to engage a part of the community that isn't interested in some of the other events.good job.

Like this comment
Posted by WIOP
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm

WIOP is a registered user.

Buy an Earring or Necklace Set or Bangle/Karra set and

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