By Diane McGrath | Co-chair of event
Encinal Elementary School in Atherton held its annual Cultural Arts Day celebration on Feb. 27. Conceived six years ago, the festival has explored the history and culture of Spain, Mexico, the Polynesian Islands, Uganda and China.
This year, the student body of 780 students studied India. The day kicked kick off with an introductory video, followed by a cricket demonstration and a visit to an on-site museum filled with art and artifacts from India.
During lunch, the students sampled Indian food, practiced yoga or created their own Rangoli art on the playground. Sitar and tabla players Aharon Wheels Bolsta and Joanna Mack performed for the children.
Sharon Burns, principal of Encinal Elementary, said the event is a "wonderful opportunity to explore, and relate to, the culture of another country."
A highlight of the day was a classical dance performance by the Pushpanjali Dance Academy of Sunnyvale, followed by a Bollywood dance headlined by Lee Pazmino, who has toured with Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, and is a teacher at the Menlo Park Academy of Dance.
The leadership team of Bita Arabian, Ami Bhow, Samira Jones and Diane McGrath worked since last spring to organize the event. More than 100 volunteers participated.
In the classroom, parent volunteers presented a history and culture lesson, read a story about India, and helped students complete an elephant art project that was personalized with the students' names written in Hindi.