American Center Marks 70 Years of U.S.-India Relations

This evening, the American Center launched its newest exhibition: “Celebrating 70 Years of U.S.-India Relations.”

The event also featured a dance performance, “Dancing Stories from the East and West,” by Nyama McCarthy-Brown, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Dance at Indiana University, and Tanya Saxena, a Bharatanatyam dancer.

The art exhibition, which runs through August 14, features images and photographs from the U.S. Embassy archives that document the U.S.-Indian relationship as far back as the 1950s.

The show is broken into themes that mirror the depth and breadth of the two countries’ collaboration, ranging from security and economic partnerships to the sharing of talents and culture across such areas as science and technology innovation and performing arts creations.

“All around us, you will see inspiring images from past and present that reflect the strategic partnership and strong friendship that the United States and India have enjoyed for 70 years now,” said Sarah Ziebell, the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Public Engagement Specialist, during the opening of the exhibit.  “Building this exhibition was both a labor of love and a joy for the team that assembled it, and we are proud of its reflection of U.S.-India dosti.”

“Dancing Stories from the East and West” is the result of a collaborative process between Professor McCarthy-Brown, a contemporary American dancer and Ms. Saxena, an Indian classical dancer, whose work arises from different pedagogical traditions but who have found commonality in expression.  In addition to each performing their solo works, McCarthy-Brown and Saxena debuted a cross-cultural piece that merges their countries’ distinct styles of dance.

Prior to performing their works, the dancers spoke with attendees about their art form, explained how they developed their pieces, and showcased a movement sequence through an interactive session with the audience.

As American dancer Nyama McCarthy-Brown put it, “The collaboration illuminated treasured dance traditions from two very distinct cultures and wove them together harmoniously, yet without infringing upon the integrity of either form.  To be sure, each form was magnified in the presentation, juxtaposed to the other.  The work was a collaboration, in every sense, a true partnership of embodied culture.”

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