Review: OSAAT Naatya-Raaga 2011: February 19th and 20th, 2011

On February 19th and 20th 2011, one of Bay Area's finest organization One School At A Time (OSAAT) hosted its signature fundraising program, Naatya-Raaga.

Founded in 2003, OSAAT is non-profit organization dedicated to helping rebuild schools in rural India. It focuses primarily on building, improving, maintaining and sustaining the infrastructure of schools. Projects are evaluated and chosen from several applications received. Since their inception in 2003, OSAAT has successfully funded all or in part, the construction of schools around Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


The schools are selected, one at a time, in order to achieve optimum results in terms of scalability, achievability, accountability and measurability. OSAAT's dedicated team of volunteers and the Board of Directors get involved in every step of the way, from selection to monitoring and to completion of the projects. The organization is 100% volunteer-run to keep the administrative cost minimal. This year, OSAAT is helping five schools from Karnataka and Maharashtra and are in the process of evaluating a school from Bihar. OSAAT is working with Power NGO to transfer funds and help monitor projects.


To raise funds for this noble cause, OSAAT conducts and organizes events in Bay Area. Its signature event, Naatya-Raaga, Raaga Kannada musical show, Rasika Ranjani, Ganga Kaveri are a few. In 2011 OSAAT also participated in Sevathon 2010 & partnered with Atlanta based Soundaraya Natyalaya.


OSAAT's Naatya-Raaga is a two day dance and music contest for kids, youth and adults to showcase their talents. OSAAT has been organizing Naatya-Raaga for the past 5 year. And every year 100s of kids, youth and adults participate in this competition. The main intent Naatya-Raaga dance contest has three categories, namely, Classical,Semi-Classical and Folk dance. The categories are chosen so that participants can perform the dances to showcase and preserve the rich diverse ethnic culture from India. This is OSAAT's modest attempt at providing a respectable platform for the the younger generation. And to help them join hands with OSAAT to raise funds to educate kids.


In the "Naatya" or dance contest as many as 65 dance groups showcased different dance forms such as Bharathanatyam, Kathak, Kuchupudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam. They were presented by young dainty dancers, dressed in colorful traditional costumes. In the folk category, dances from Assam, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh were presented to the best authenticity possible with respect to costumes and props.  In the Semi- classical category, the groups presented very unique dances. Fusion music, some melodious Bollywood numbers were interpreted with a theme and performed keeping elements of classical styles such as Bharathnatyam and Kathak.  Several teams proudly walked off winning top honors. Natyalaya, Opal, Xpressions, California Nupur Dance Academy, Aerodance, Shri Krupa Dance Company, Nrtiyanjali, Indian Fusion Dance Academy, Thiruchitrambalam, Sthree production are some of the winners.


The Raaga music contest was conducted the following day and 55+ groups contested in Carnatic Classical and Semi classical and Hindustani genres. Teams took the stage and music was presented melodiously and truly raised the bar of the contest like never before. Nadalaya School of Music, Neyveli Gurukulam, Ragamalika, Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir, Sangitalaya school of music, Rajguru Sangeeta Vidyaniketan, Ganamandira Fine Arts, Shakuntala Murthy, Mahatee Music Academy were some of the winners of the contest.The contest this year also provided a stage for the three percussion schools from the Bayarea to show case their talents by students of Ravi Gutala, Satish Tare and Ramesh Srinivasan.


Both days of the contest were very successful due to the unrelenting support of several leading artistes in the field of dance and music from the Bayarea who help judge the contest. Their commitment to make this event a success for OSAAT is truly amazing. 


It is a great effort when younger school kids and youth can perform and raise funds for the wonderful cause for kids in India to have a safe school. OSAAT is definitely doing a great job for the community here and back home. To continue their efforts they are looking for more volunteers. Please visit http://www.osaat.org/naatya-raaga, or email info@osaat.org


Janani Narayanan