Karnataka's Siddi Dance to be performed in London on April 27, on the occasion of International Dance Day
Siddi dance of Karnataka will be performed for the first time in London on the occasion of International Dance Day celebrations April 27. This year’s programme is themed to draw special attention towards the empowerment of tribal communities of India. Besides Siddi dance, Pavra Adivasi dance of Maharashtra, Garo dance of Meghalaya and Cheraw dance of Mizoram will also be presented. Participants in these dances have been training locally in the UK.
Organised by Ragasudha Vinjamuri, a trained classical dancer who teaches Bharatnatyam and folk dance at Indian Gymkhana in London, the event aims to underscore the initiatives taken to empower the tribal and forest dweller communities of India. Along with Ragasudha, Sushil Rapatwar, a project manager by profession is hosting this dance event.
The highlight of the event is that this dance will be performed by local dancers in the UK. Talking about how she trained the dancers, Ragasudha says, "I was in touch with members of the Siddi community from Yellapore. I learnt the dance steps with their help and in turn, taught those to other dancers who are part of this event. The name of the event is "Dance and Development" marking International Dance Day and the event will take place at Blackfriars in London."
Along with the choreography, the team behind this event has also paid attention to details like costumes and props. "We have been showcasing different tribal dances for a few years now. Some times we hire the costumes if they are available here, else we source from the tribal community directly. They are usually free size, so never had any problem. For example, last time we have showcased Baghurumba dance of Assam in British Parliament House. We sourced costumes from Kokrajhar in Assam by buying from a local vendor there, introduced through Assamese friends here."
Through this programme both the hosts aim to bring to the fore, how these tribal communities in India are supported by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. "Authentic indigenous tribal dance forms of India are rarely seen in Britain. It is pleasing and gratifying to spread appreciation of the rich tribal heritage of India. Tribal communities form an important fabric in the tapestry of national culture and heritage. In the last few years, we had an opportunity to present Baghurumba of Assam and Hojagiri of Tripura from the North East, Lambadi, Mathuri and Gond dances of Telangana State in the House of Commons and House of Lords of British Parliament and Saora dance at an event in Switzerland. There is a great scope to research and introduce varied tribal art forms to audiences in Europe."