Indian Culture Through Dance, Smoke & Vibrant Colors

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There’s something about Indian dance that mesmorizes me.  It could be the beautiful costumes. It could be the allure of slow and precise dancing, predominantly done by women. It could be their beauty. It could be the unity woven throughout the various dances that bring the women together as a combined force that’s alluring.

Whatever it is, the Indian dance performance at Winnipeg’s Folkorama event in August was a night to remember.

While eating butter chicken, tandoori, chick peas, naan, samosa and sweet desserts, we watched, or rather gazed at the myriad of performances that hit the stage before us.

Then came out the Kingfisher Beer and the Old Monk Rum around coffee time.

It made me wonder what it would feel like to wear a Sari to work or as part of a cultural tradition I could call my own. European cultures for the most part only wear traditional attire in dance and musical rituals rather than as an integrated part of their every day life.

How boring I thought as I pondered this. While I love fashion, wouldn’t it be cool if your culture was to wear something never to be found in a fashion magazine or in a mall chained store that you find the “same ole same ole’ in whether you’re in Dubai, Paris, Sydney or Miami.

There are various dances in India worth noting.

The Gondhal, an established religious practice of most of the castes in Maharashtra, is an educative, entertaining and important tradition. It is believed that if the Gonhal is performed in the house during auspicious occasions like weddings and thread ceremonies, then our life doesn’t become chaotic. I could use a little Gondhal if that’s the case. The Gondhal a decade ago was very different than the one performed now as the new generations have incorporated new modern things into the mix.

The Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka nad Tamil Nadu. It is a combination of song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholak, a percussion instrument. It is noted for its powerful rhythm and erotic sentiment. Lavani contributed to the development of Marathi folk theatre and it is often performed by female performers wearing nine-yard long saris.

The songs are sung in a quick tempo. Traditionally, this genre of folk dance deals with different and varied subject matters, such as society, religion, politics and romance. The songs in ‘Lavani’ are often erotic in sentiment and the dialogues tend to be pungent in socio-political satire. Originally, it was used as a form of entertainment and morale booster to tired soldiers.

Below are some of the shots I took during the Folkorama performance which included a variety of Indian dancers.















































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