180 Indian folk dancers to perform at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 13:30 hrs

A troupe of 180 grassroot folk dancers will bring alive the traditional performing arts of India at the New Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow Sep 3.

The dancers, culled from 16 states across India, will perform 18 traditional dances as part of Year of India in Russia festival in a concert titled 'Sahasra Patra' (the lotus with a thousand petals).

Announcing the concert at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), director-general of ICCR Virendra Gupta said the festival was part of an initiative to promote cultural awareness and goodwill between the two nations that share historical ties.

The yearlong festival, a reciprocal gesture to the Year of Russia in India in 2008, was inaugurated by the president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Karan Singh and Alexander D. Zhukov, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, March 31 2009.

Thirty-nine Indian cultural troupes are taking part in the festival. It is being organised jointly by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the government of India and the Russian government.

'President Pratibha Patil will be going to Russia next month for the concert. The idea is to showcase India in all its diverse glory. India is land of myths, legends, folklores and battles that now exist as performing arts in its villages and small towns. The concert, Sahasra Patra, strung together by veteran theatre artist Bansi Kaul showcases the heart of rural India and its unbroken heritage down the ages,' Gupta told a packed house at the ICCR's new theatre, Azad Bhavan, in a media interface.

The media was treated to a sneak peek of the concert - a truncated version - by nearly 50 performers, who brought to life dances like mentok stanmo of Ladakh, thunchen from Jammu and Kashmir, shankya vadyam from Orissa, pung cholom from Manipur, talavadyam from Kerala, panthi from Kerala, bihu from Assam, bhangra from Punjab, bisukamsale from Karnataka and a desert symphony from Rajasthan.

Other Indian programmes scheduled in the next quarter in Russia, in course of the festival, includes workshops of heritage and conservation, theatre, science and technology, exhibitions and festivals of Indian films.

'The ICCR is on an expansion mode and India will see many such festivals over the next three years. We are trying to take the extraordinary richness of the Indian culture to the world. The ICCR is setting up cultural cells in Tokyo and Bangkok next month, followed by Abu Dhabi and Bangladesh. We are also in talks with respective governments to set up ICCR cells like Tanzania , Brazil, Washington and Toronto. We have register our presence across the world,' Gupta said.

According to Gupta, the next mega festival was the Festival of China of 2010 followed by two festivals of India in America and Canada. The bigger shows will be interspersed with several mini-India festivals, he said.

'The festival in China will be smaller than the Russian festival, but the focus will be both on traditional and contemporary arts - a balanced representation. The Chinese want it that way. I will be going to China to finalise the schedule next month. The aim is to strengthen cultural diplomacy between both the countries,' Gupta told IANS.

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