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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Asia Pacific dance extravaganza

The inaugural edition of ABU International Television dance festival in Hyderabad is designed to introduce Asia Pacific region’s cultural diversity to the world audience, writes Madhavi Puranam.

The first International Dance Festival mounted by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) with Prasar Bharati, Telangana government and Doordarshan as the organising partners, is set for a grand unveiling of dances from different countries of the Asia Pacific at the Shilpakala Vedika, Hyderabad. The concert will be telecast across the globe. This inaugural edition of the dance festival on January 15,aims at introducing the Asia Pacific region’s cultural diversity to the world audience. Taking centre stage will be young performers from countries like Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, India, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The festival is slated to assume the format of a dance reality show on television in the coming years. The event is open to all; Doordarshan, Hyderabad can be contacted for the invites.

A preview of the colourful bouquet of dances gives a glimpse of unique groups like the Pashtun ethnic people whose dance dates way back to Zoroastrianism in Balkh (in northern Afghanistan) which was known as Bactria in ancient times. The dance originates from the times men danced round the fire reciting verses from the Avesta, a collection of the religious texts of Zoroastrianism.Uzundra from Azerbaijan will take the spectators through lyrical movements and music depicting the pangs of separation of the bride from her family and home. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is set to display its spectacular dance theatre which originated in the royal courts and which was performed both for entertainment and as propitiation to gods.

The group from Tsinghua University of China promises an interesting fare with the production Blooming in the Storm, in the Chinese traditional dance idiom. The Meke dancers from Fiji are sure to enliven the ancient gods, battles and historical events. The characteristic body movements with rhythmic repetitive chanting, and the exotic costumes, promise a mesmerising fare that traditionally marks happy occasions and functions.Indonesia’s presentation Kabaret Baliano, inspired by the traditional Balinese dance, would be a fine example of tradition blending with modernity. Another dance that will be presented by them is the Bala Turangga, inspired by legendary horse troops of the 14-century Majapahit Kingdom era based on dynamic Javanese dances.The Malidivian traditional dance with its swaying movements to the beat of “Bodu Beru” would be an enriching experience. To the accompaniment of a variety of percussion instruments, the lead singer chants the lyrics and a chorus follows and claps to reach a crescendo. Dancing to this beat with innumerable variations reflects the rich culture of Maldives, which is an archipelago of more than 1900 islands.The Sugsraan Donj from Mongolia is an experimental fusion of traditional Biyelgee dance and modern music with a flavour of its ethnic roots. The life of the young herders from western Mongolian ethnic groups and their joys despite the rigors of life, are portrayed.

The troupe from Philippines will present a mosaic of dances like the Tinikling, Pangalay, Jota and Bangka. Uzbekistan’s Lezgi from the Khwarezm region, a lively dance that progresses into a scintillating pace, has been chosen to represent the country. The traditional Vietnamese show will comprise the different forms performed in the theatre, opera, festivals and the courts.Last but not the least, India will be represented by Andaz e Raqs of the group Aamad, choreographed by Rani Khanam in the traditional category, and Chaitanya by Sadhya - A Unit of Performing Arts, choreographed by Santosh Nair, in the contemporary dance category.

With such a variety laid out for one evening, this festival promises to be a visual and aural fiesta which would no doubt delight the fine sensibilities of the Hyderabadis, more so the dance lovers.

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