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The ageless Classic Western fairy tale comes to life through innovative original choreography, colorful costumes and unique music! Through this brilliant stage performance we were able to bring people of different personalities and creative minds together to bridge a gap between Indian and American culture. Ranjana Warier, winner of the 2012 Knights Arts Challenge in Miami, has brought together six professional teachers in a collaborative effort to show a modern fairytale in a different light. Anvita, a program that showcased for two nights, depicts the story of Sleeping Beauty in a way that one would have never imagined.

Harija Sinnarajah is entertaining, enlightening and educating audiences through a centuries-old dance rooted in the Hindu temples of Southern India. The ancient art, known as Bharatha Natyam, is a form of Indian classical ballet where costumed participants use intricate hand movements, facial expressions and footwork, accompanied by traditional Carnatic music. The Sri Lanka-born Sinnarajah sometimes performs, but her main joy is teaching. She started with one student in her adopted hometown of Miami, shortly after moving here with her husband from England in 1986. Sinnarajah's Vanee School of Dance now has 100 pupils ages 4 to 40 at rented studio spaces throughout the tri-county area. One of the spots is at the University Center for the Performing Arts in Davie, where 25 to 30 of her students will perform on Saturday at a Divali celebration. The event marks Hindu's Festival of Lights, a commemoration of light overcoming darkness. "It is victory over evil," Sinnarajah said. The center-run program will feature other performers doing Bollywood and Bhangra dance styles. Indian food also will be served.

Explanations will be given of the stories behind each of the nine Bharatha Natyam dances performed by Sinnarajah's troupe, including one that depicts the meaning of Divali. "Everything is based on the Hindu gods," Sinnarajah said. "We want to make it easy for people to understand." It's not so simple for the students. Bharatha Natyam is a long-term commitment, she said. Many of her charges are either Indian-born or of Indian descent. For them, classes are both a religious and cultural undertaking, said Sinnarajah, a practicing Hindu. Many, like herself, start learning an early age. Her own journey began as a child, enrolled in dance school by her father. What started as a hobby grew into a lifelong calling when Sinnarajah reached her teens and began pursuing serious training in Chennai, India, a major center for Bharatha Natyam and Carnatic music. After graduation, she then did a short stint performing in England before settling in South Florida. As the local Indian population grew, so did demand for classes. A one point, Sinnarajah said she was flying twice a week to Orlando. In addition to Davie, sessions are held at 9749 SW 111th Terrace, Miami; Michael's Dance Studio at 8755 NW 57th St., Tamarac; and at Giselle's Dance Studio, 298 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., Royal Palm Beach. Classes have seen an increased interest amongst non-Indians too, Sinnarajah said. It's not surprising. "As a dance form, [Bharatha Natyam] is colorful and beautiful," she said. The Divali Celebration will be 6 to 10 p.m. at the University Center, 2240 SW 70th Ave. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger in advance, or $18 for adults and $12 for children at the door. Call 954-475-3000, or visit For information on Sinnarajah's classes contact 786-390-5667, or email