By SIOBHAN BURKE
In the transfixing solo “Jwala: Rising Flame” — presented by the World Music Institute as part of Dancing the Gods, an annual festival of Indian classical dance — Ms. Prakash invokes the image of fire and its behavior: how it moves, what it means, what it gives and takes from us.
Her warmth and brightness as a performer suit the theme; those qualities surfaced as soon as the light came up on her slowly turning figure. Five musicians, including her brother, the vocalist Aditya Prakash, joined her onstage, and from the first moment, music and dance worked together in trance-inducing harmony.
“Jwala” unfolds in four parts, beginning with “Surya: Sun,” a tribute to the Hindu sun god. A translation of Sanskrit verse in the program reads, “Radiant is He, who drives across the sky in his seven-horse chariot, dispelling darkness.” With her feet planted wide and knees bent, Ms. Prakash, wrapped in red and gold, chugged diagonally across the stage, striking the floor with her heels as her upper body assumed the proud poses of that chariot driver.
In the longest and most theatrical section, “Jwala: The Flame,” Ms. Prakash began with only her hands illuminated, one poised above the other like the wick of a candle. What started as a gentle flickering of her fingers grew into the kinetic blaze of her swirling hands. There were emotional conflagrations, too. In one passage, she appeared to be in mourning; in another, she mimed adoringly cradling a child.
An even bolder athleticism emerged in the jumps and turns of “Shakti: Energy,” named for the goddess of creativity, and the final phase, “Becoming.” The only thing not to like was that Ms. Prakash was here for just one night.
Radhika Bhuckory has been studying since September to perform in her three hour dance debut in the classical Indian dance tradition of Bharatanatyam.
Westlake Village, CA – March 30, 2016 Radhika Bhuckory is a sophomore at Oaks Christian Online School (OCO), as part of the acclaimed Oaks Christian campus in Westlake Village, CA. Radhika attends online school partially to give her time to explore the classical Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam. She has been dancing this form for ten years but has been focusing since September on preparing for her three hour, graduation-style solo dance debut, also known as Arangetram. Radhika has been building stamina and trying new choreography in order to complete the 9 required dances and to show her personal style and love of the dance. “I’ll be able to experience dance in a new way after this feat,” she says. Radhika performs at the Shakti Dance Company and School which is known as one of the oldest Bharatanatyam dance schools in Southern California. The dance company performs throughout the US and internationally, and Radhika has been selected to participate in their production of Mara at the Ford Theater in July. This artistic sophomore also studies classical, South Indian Carnatic music and hopes to sing in a solo concert in 2017 after her dance debut.
Radhika has many interests and a love of business. She plans to study business in college – either through entrepreneurship or corporate business – and is targeting schools such as USC, Claremont McKenna, UCLA, UCSB or Occidental. She has even begun her own jewelry business on the side. When asked how going to Oaks Christian Online School impacts her college chances, Radhika says, “The academics at OCO are very strong, and you’re getting a solid education. I feel that I’m going to a real and well-rounded school. I’m taking Physics, Pre-calculus, World History, Bible, Rhetoric and even Photography. With student council, advisory and science labs, I never feel like I’m not in real school.” Radhika also comments on being in a Christian school environment, “I love learning about religion and free-will. The teachers are welcoming and open minded. My favorite book has been Revelation; we’ve gone deep.”
Director of Spiritual Life, Mrs. Samantha Farinacci, sums up how OCO feels about Radhika when she says, “Radhika is an exciting student to teach because I know that she is going to truly care about what she’s learning and try her very best to engage each topic meaningfully. She has a unique sense of responsibility over the tasks and ideas she encounters that produces a positive and genuine wisdom in her thoughts and character.”
The main campus of Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, CA opened in the fall of 2000 and Oaks Christian Online School (OCO) opened for full-time, online students in the fall of 2011. One of the nation's finest accredited online schools, Oaks Christian Online High School provides a rigorous, NCAA approved, college-preparatory education for high school students all around the world in a Christian environment. OCO and Oaks Christian School are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges as well as by the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Oaks Christian Online School continues to enroll part-time and full-time students throughout the school year and regularly hosts information sessions on its main campus – 31749 La Tienda Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91362, as well as virtual information sessions for prospective student families. Interested students can visit the website http://online.oakschristian.org to R.S.V.P.