By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Vandegrift Legacies dance team performed at a rally in Houston on Sunday called “Howdy, Modi!” which was hosted for President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Legacies were invited to attend and the dancers “convinced” director Holly Lyons to accept the invitation. The girls agreed to extra practices to prepare for the once-in-a-life-time event in front of a sold out crowd.
It was a connection of Grandview Hills resident Sruthi Mohan, creative director at Tat Tvam Asi, that allowed the Legacies to get the invite. Mohan was in New York City recently for dance shows and meetings for a dance festival she’s curating in Manhattan next month.
“I’m connected to a network of dance presenters around the country,” Mohan said. “And when I was at a meeting at NYC, the producer of the Howdy, Modi! event, who happens to be a friend, approached me asking if my daughter Smrithi, and her dance team, the Legacies, would be interested in being part of the show.”
The invitation was extended and the rest is history.
Hosted by the Texas India Forum Inc., more than 50,000 attended the event on Sept. 22 at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
The nonprofit “encourages cooperation between the United States and India, advancing the shared values of democracy, inclusive economic development, and mutual respect,” its website states.
This was the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the United States other than the Pope, according to Texas India Forum.
A select group of 21 VHS senior Legacies kicked off Howdy, Modi! with a production entitled “Woven”
“The Legacies represented Texas high schools in a story about an Indian-American girl blending her American identity with her Indian culture and heritage,” said Lyons, who is also the current Texas Dance Educators Association Director of the Year.
The 90-minute performance for Prime Minister Modi and President Trump included a Texas-themed, high kick routine.
The VHS Legacies worked with MELA Arts Connect out of Greater NYC. Lyons said “all of the artists were wonderful to work with.”
“The senior Legacies had the most amazing experience at this meaningful production,” Lyons said.
The Vipers were interviewed live by India Today Media Institute and also officially welcomed Prime Minister Modi to Houston via Twitter.
“They learned about the Indian-American culture, and stood only feet away from both Prime Minister Modi and President Trump,” Lyons said.
Lyons described the atmosphere as “positive and celebratory”. “You could feel the energy in NRG Stadium and the whole experience was very exciting to be a part of,” she added.
Mohan — who was pivotal in making this come together — was thrilled they got to witness a historic event from the frontlines.
“To me, this was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to not just experience a world class professional stage but also to experience the complexities existing in the real world,” Mohan said. “Hopefully this experience, with much introspection, will help them and all of us who got to go, unravel the truth of who we are and what we stand for. A bonding experience that the senior Legacies of class of 2020 can always refer to as a very special memory!”
Legacies who performed at Howdy, Modi!