Pictorials of Ms Davina Singh, daughter of Lolita Singh, both New Yorkers and Indian Guyanese, impressed devotees at Navratri 2023 festival at the Arya Samaj ground in Queens evening of October 22. She performed for 17 years during the Navratri festival at that location and elsewhere.
In an interview, Davina said that 17 years ago she had just completed her training of Bharatnatyam/Kuchipudi classical dance when her sister Vishwani Deon reached out for an invocation dance (a simple Ganesh Pushpanjali) for a grand Navraatri celebration at Milan Mandir in Richmond Hill. She stated: “It was beautiful sone and well received by the mammoth gathering. But knowing the barriers at hand (language being Tamil/Telegu and music being South Indian Carnatic, etc.), I couldn’t foresee this being more than a quick one time performance. After all, dance was for stage – or so we’d been programmed.”
She added: “Then came a leader to set the bar high – where every classically trained artiste (singers, live orchestra, dancers) motivated each other to improve year after year after year, all to glorify Maa.”.
She said Pt Rajin Ji who pushed her to deliver “Classical Dance as a Prayer” in its most authentic form. “I never once had to shorten the length of an item to suit the audience/forum, or add a Hindi verse so audience could relate. My fellow South Indian classical dancers can empathize with reception and treatment”.
Commenting on her participation in Navratri, Davina said: “So, with 17 years of infusing South Indian Classical Dance and Carnatic Music into our Navraatri observances for a predominantly West Indian congregation, I’d like to thank our Pt Rajin Balgobind for this mark, where my young students in this age are now eager to perform ‘temple dance’, just like it’s done in our Motherland India”.