Bollywood Comes to New Jersey
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Gods and kings, past and present, tradition and modernity all merged in ‘Mystic India: The World Tour’ at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey. This was the first Broadway style Bollywood inspired extravaganza to debut at NJPAC.
For many young Indian-Americans the show was a reaffirmation of their culture and for mainstream Americans it was an introduction to the vibrant colors, dance and music of India. The show, created by Amit Shah and the Aatma Performing Arts, features passionate dancers, musicians, and acrobats.
An audience of 2300 watched the magic of India unfold on the stage. They got the best of all worlds because so many different Indias, so many different regions, so many different types of music and dance were featured. As David Rodrigues, Executive Producer at NJPAC, observed: “With 60 performers, Mystic India was a spectacle that had the crowd dancing in their seats, and showcased the breadth of music and dance that India has to offer.”
Bollywood-style Extravaganza celebrating Indian Arts
Indian dance and music were on overdrive, with over a 1000 costume changes, and over 60 performers showcasing a multitude of songs, especially all-time favourites from Bollywood, the hugely popular Hindi film industry.
For Amit Shah, this collaboration with NJPAC has been a dream come true, to have a spellbound audience in a prestigious location. What is particularly exciting is that all the performers are from the tri-state area, many from New Jersey. So having travelled the world, the performers of Mystic India are finally performing for their own, in their hometown.
Connecting India and America
As Amit Shah, who has taken the show on the road to several countries around the world, says, “What makes a good show even greater is the audience. The audience’s energy at NJPAC was outstanding! We could hear them singing the songs from the stage and it was truly uplifting for all the performers. It gave the cast so much motivation that when the show was over, we wanted to do it all over again.”
This performance was part of NJPAC’s World Music Series sponsored by American Express. Programming was made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Discover Jersey Arts.
For the Indian community this was a first interaction with a major mainstream organization, and one hopes there will be many more such connections.
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