Local Students Show Off Cultural Pride Through Dance

Rockland Continues Celebration With India Day Parade

New City, NY (Aug. 10, 2018) – In colorful costumes and joyful steps, local students celebrated their cultural roots during the Rockland County Legislature’s 2018 Indian Heritage Month commemoration.

The event, led by Legislator Aney Paul, featured students from the Global Mudra Performing Arts School, under the direction of its artistic director, Indhra Rajashekar.

“Rockland County is a wonderfully diverse community and as an Indian-American, I’m so proud of these students for embracing and sharing their culture with others,” Legislator Paul said. “It takes hard work and discipline to learn these dances and it requires a strong commitment to practicing and performing. These youths have proven they have what it takes to succeed and I know they will continue to achieve.”

Dancers Neha Antony, Saniya Chacko, Rhia Kandamkulaty, Eliza Manimala, Savannah Thomas wore Indian dance costumes and offered selections of dancing that incorporated the Bollywood style made famous in Indian films with traditional Indian movements.

Paul and Legislature Chairman Toney L. Earl presented Rajashekar with a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her cultural contributions. Each student was presented with a Certificate of Recognition.

Chairman Earl also proclaimed August as Indian-American Heritage Month in Rockland County. On the state level, State Senator David Carlucci and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski sponsored similar proclamations, which were approved in both houses.

On Aug. 15th of each year, India commemorates its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. Locally, the India Cultural Society of Rockland marks the occasion this year on Aug. 18 with the India Day Parade & Festival that includes a flag-raising ceremony at the County Courthouse, instrumental music, dance, Indian food, Henna tattoos, children’s activities, and more. The parade kicks off from New City Library at 11 a.m.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 7,800 Indian-Americans call Rockland County home.

A 2016 report issued by the New York state Comptroller’s Office noted that the Asian community, which includes Indian-Americas, is the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the state, with the population more than doubling since 1990 to about 1.8 million. Asians account for 9 percent of the state’s overall population and about 7 percent of Rockland’s overall population. Of the 1.8 million Asians in New York, 22 percent, or 396,000, are of Indian descent.

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