Erasing Borders & Dancing Feet

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Indian classical dance organized by IAAC at the Downtown Dance Festival featured Indian bharata Natyam dancer Rukmini Vijayakumar.

Rukmini Vijayakumar: all photos Shwetha Pandit

Indian Dance comes to the Financial District


I missed it. This beautiful festival of Indian dance in the middle of Manhattan’s bustling downtown business district. A pretty surreal event, I’m sure, looking at the pictures of bedecked dancers striking poses, surrounded by skyscrapers rising against the New York skyline. Yes, the temples of Khajuraho are very far away.

What do mudras, dhols and ghungroos have to do with stocks and shares and financial portfolios?

Nothing. But they did give busy 9 to 5 people a break from their office routines with this free lunchtime concert in the open air organized by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC)  in collaboration with Battery Dance Company’s annual  Downtown Dance Festival.

How unexpected must it have been for people grabbing a hot dog from a vendor or rushing for a cab to see these dancers transformed into gods and goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon?  Heavenly beauty in the middle of a traffic jam!

The outdoor audiences got to see several ancient dances from India: Manipuri by the Natya Academy; Mohini Attam by Mandakini Trivedi; Bharatanatyam by Lakshmi Sriraman and Aniruddhan Vasudevan; Kathak by Bageshree Vaze and Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance by Rukmini Vijayakumar. These were curated by Prachi Dalal of IAAC.

For you and me, who weren’t at the dance festival, these evocative images say it all.  I thought I’d share them so you can enjoy the action, the grace and the sense of community.  Maybe we’ll catch it live next year!

Related Article: Indian Dance – Out of the Box

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Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. Twitter@lavinamelwani & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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