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India Night emcee Kristen Braden, Salvation Tree co-founder Laurie Sharma and Tynsley Smith

The dancers, judges and emcees of India Night 2015

Timmy Sharma addresses the guests at India Night

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India Night’s Bollywood Dancing Brings Down the House at IPC

Written by: Emily Riden
Client: Salvation Tree
Release Date: 2015-03-17

Second Annual India Night Raises Funds and Awareness For Salvation Tree Foundation

Wellington, FL – March 18, 2015 – The Wellington, Florida, winter equestrian season is jam-packed with incredible charity events, but on Thursday night there was one event that stood out from all the rest: India Night 2015.

The party took the ordinary elements of a fundraising event and transformed them into something extraordinary. Cocktail dresses and suits and ties were traded in for Indian saris and turbans; pop music was foregone in favor of catchy Bollywood songs; chocolate molded into decadent elephants and filled with mousse replaced more traditional desserts, and the Grande Pavilion at the International Polo Club (IPC) Palm Beach was transformed into a scene straight out of India.

The second annual event raised funds and awareness for the Salvation Tree School near New Delhi, India. The Salvation Tree School provides impoverished children with an entirely free education, including books, supplies, midday meals, transportation and uniforms unlike anything they could otherwise receive.

Click below to watch the video debuted at India Night 2015 that tells the heartfelt story of the Salvation Tree School:


Guests watched the video while enjoying an incredible Indian dinner flawlessly prepared and presented by Aaron’s Catering of the Palm Beaches, who went above and beyond for the event. Guests also enjoyed a signature welcome drink, appetizers and an authentic Indian entrée generously supplied by India Bar + Grill.

Following dinner, all eyes and ears turned from the video screens to the dance floor for the first annual Dancing With the Stars: Bollywood Style competition! For weeks prior to the event, riders Brandon Phillips, Eliane Cordia van Reesema, Ki-Juan Minors and Annabelle Garrett swapped their breeches and boots for dancing shoes, rehearsing Bollywood choreography alongside professional Bollywood dancers.

Each rider, paired with their professional choreographer, showed off their skills in front of guests and the judging panel, composed of Susie Dutta, Sandy Ferrell, Chip McKenney and P.J. Rizvi.

Guests could vote via text donation to the Salvation Tree School for their favorite performer. Throughout the performances, a live scoreboard reported the funds raised for each dancer as well as the general donations for the school.

At the end of the night it was Eliane Cordia van Reesema and her dance partner, Vishnu Sonar, who claimed the top prize, taking home the first India Night Dancing with the Stars: Bollywood Style trophies.

Watch Cordia van Reesema’s winning performance here:

From its inception in 2010 until 2014, the school was funded solely by founders Timmy and Laurie Sharma and their company, JPC Equestrian, which manufactures notable equestrian brands including Equine Couture and TuffRider. In March 2014, they first turned to the equestrian community to help see bigger dreams for the school come to fruition.

Now, the couple is amazed with the support that the equestrian and local Wellington communities have shown through India Night.

“Seeing our friends, families and the equestrian community get behind the school that we’re so passionate about means more than you can ever imagine. It’s because of their generosity that we’re able to continue to make a difference in the lives of so many children,” Laurie said. “This event and the generosity that came from it exceeded our expectations, and we’re looking forward to what the future holds for the Salvation Tree School.”

Today the Salvation Tree School serves more than 250 students from pre-K to sixth grade, and thanks to the proceeds from India Night 2015, ground will be able to be broken on a new school large enough to accommodate growing needs. 

Learn how you too can support the Salvation Tree Foundation, or find out more about the organization here:

For many more photos from India Night, click here


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