‘Bollywood!’ brings Indian culture, dance to Fitton Center stage

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts will present its season finale for the Showstoppers Series when “Bollywood!” comes to the Hamilton stage this weekend.

“You’re going to immerse yourself in a spectacle filled with color, sound, dance and culture from India,” said Lalita Satyal, organizer of the event. “It will be a magical, mystical evening performance that will delight the audience.”

She said this will be one of the largest shows they have ever held at the Fitton Center with 100-plus performers on the stage.

“The title of it — “Bollywood!” with an exclamation point — is appropriate, because as you know, Hamilton at one time was Hamilton! with an exclamation mark,” Satyal said. “So, what the audience is going to be experiencing is an unforgettable evening of dances that are going to be from different regions of India.”

Satyal said the emcee for the evening will be Los Angeles-based comedian Rajiv Satyal, who is also Lalita’s son.

“He’s the only person that has performed on all seven continents as a comedian,” she said.

“It will be wonderful to have Rajiv back at the Fitton Center,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center. “When I say this is a family event, I mean that twice. Rajiv works clean and is hysterically funny for all ages. And he’s coming home to help his mom make this show a hit.”

Rajiv Satyal will open the show with his standup before introducing the groups and sharing some of the different elements of the performances.

The Fitton Center will present “Bollywood!” as its Showstoppers Series season finale on Saturday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $35 for members; $43 for non-members. (Plus, a $1 service fee, per ticket.)

“This is one of the most ambitious shows we’ve ever undertaken, with nearly 100 performers on our stage through the course of the night,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “Yet as big as it is, it’s truly a community event and a family event.”

He said, “Lalita Satyal connected us with no less than half a dozen different organizations in the area who agreed to showcase different styles of Indian music, dance, dress and culture. Smita Srivastava coordinated all these groups to create an entertaining evening for our audience.”

The night’s performers will include the Kathanauki School of Dance, Prerna Dance Group, Teja Patel, M-Squad, Saree Show, Aaja Nacach Le and the Dancing Enjaamis.

The dancers will feature various styles, ranging from the classical Sufi dance of northern India to Bollywood fusion, from western Indian to Kollywood-style dance from southern India, from a parade of traditional Indian fashion to contemporary Kathak and vibrant Bhangra dancing.

“We want to build bridges, to start conversations, to connect people and invite them to see and appreciate the people who maybe they didn’t know much about. The arts are a wonderful way to open those doors,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.

“About five percent of Butler County residents are of Asian descent; a significant portion of those are Indian. This is an important show for us to share a culture that many of our neighbors don’t know. But it’s just as important for the Indian community to see themselves represented on stages where maybe they haven’t been seen before,” he said.

How to go

What: Bollywood!

When: Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton

Cost: Tickets are $35 for members; $43 for non-members (Plus, a $1 service fee, per ticket.) The event is sponsored by Pahhni Premium Alkaline Water

More info: fittoncenter.org or 513-863-8873 ext. 110.

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