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Invoking the spirit of India through dance

Indian Revival Group celebrated the rich multi-cultural heritage of India. The showcase featured traditional dance from Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and other Indian cities.

Papiha Desai (centre) performs Odissi.

They say: dance like no one is watching. But when 25 dancers from across India presented a showcase at the Meghdoot Open Art Theatre, Mandi House, the audience got the taste of India's rich cultural diversity. The performances were a part of Sangeet Kala Akademi’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of India Festival ‘Kaleidoscope’. The dancers presented India’s traditional dance forms, including the ones under folk, martial and tribal dance.

Papiha Desai, Choreographer, Indian Revival Group, revealed the details about the production. She said, “This is one of our most popular productions called ‘The wonder that is India’. We have brought classical dance forms along with folk, martial and tribal dance. We are doing Manipuri, Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Garbha raas, Bhangra and Kalbeliya."

Besides this, there is also a martial dance form 'Mayurbhanj Chhau' from Odisha and a tribal dance from Chhattisgarh. "The tribal dance from Chhattisgarh involves people from the Gaur Maria tribe. It is a bison horn dance where the performers wear real bison horns as headgears,” she adds.

Indian Revival Group has been preserving, propagating and informing the younger generation about India’s rich cultural diversity. “Many youngsters are unfamiliar about India being a cultural superpower. Through the performances, we are trying to uphold the legacy that we have got from our ancestors,” she shares.

Papiha too was a part of the production. She opened the event with a mesmerising showcase as an Odissi dancer.

Sharing details about her act, she said, “My performance emerged from the temples of Odisha. The dance is based on the carvings and sculptures of the temples in Odisha. I have taken inspiration from the Sun Temple in Konark, the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneshwar and the Jaganath Temple in Puri.”

Her performance featured Mahari dance, which was once performed by devadasis, and Gotipua dance, an acrobatic dance, that is performed by young boys (who are yet to attain puberty).

The show was a cross-cultural fusion of different dance forms.

This is not the first time that Indian Revival Group has brought forth such a showcase. For more than seven decades, the organisation has contributed to promote culture and traditional values in India.

“Ours is an old civilisation. We have a plethora of dance and music forms. Since India was ruled by several communities, our indigenous dance forms were not given enough patronage as they got during the bygone times. After the Britishers left, several gurus have tried to restructure the dance basis what they saw in the sculptures that were available to them. We too are trying to revive these dance forms before they fade away just like that era,” she says.

Kaleidoscope is organised to commemorate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, a year-long celebration of 75 years of Indian Independence. Sangeet Kala Akademi is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture.

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