17/11/2018 Mary Collins
On the occasion of the Diwali "Festival of Lights", the Kalasri dance school presented a varied dance program. The Keshava family of artists performed with their Kalasri dance ensemble as well as their youth and children's dance groups' fascinating traditional temple dances, with mythological stories. The event opened with the traditional style "Pooja"- Hindu Cermony.
"The Indian festival of light Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over the darkness. After 14 years of banishment and the victory over the demon king Ravana, God Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya in the dark. To this day, Hindus light countless lights on this holiday and celebrate this great festival in honor of Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, wealth and beauty."
The candles and offering were set to a part of the stage, and followed by the beautifully dressed children who waited obediently as the lights were lit and each was blessed with the "light, fire, and fragrant incense" as part of the ceremony. Food was also offered to the children and audience - delicious balls of coconut and sweetness!
The children and teacher then proceeded to explain dance movements they would perform, followed by the graceful dances that told tales of Gods, the games they like to play, and adoration that is requested. You could see that the children loved playing their parts, and they did it very professionally and beautifully.
An array of sparkling Bollywood choreographies followed, as adults and children swirled, jumped and danced with full passion and glamour, telling the stories of Diwali and tradtional folklore and dance styles from areas across their nation.
Folklore mask dance theatre "The Tiger and the Honest Cow" completely rounded the performance with adorable and believable costumes and very well-acted parts played by both adults and children. After a wonderful introduction and heartfelt praise from a representative from the Indian Embassy, the children were presented with historic folklore book sets, which genuinely delighted the receivers.
A dinner was optional but well worth the cost, and a variety of drinks including Lassi was available for a delicious thirst quencher and dessert in one.
More beautiful and eloquent dances followed; and a final group appearance ended a perfect night, celebrated by hearty applause.
This is an event that was well worth booking in advance. I would recommend it and look forward to seeing next year as well. Each year there is a different set of performances and one can even attend dance classes to learn more, and perhaps have the opportunity to be included in future performances!
For further information, do not hesitate to contact the Kalasri dance school.
The programme on 17 November 2018 was:
17.30 Pooja - Hindu ceremony
18.00 Dance performance
20.00 Indian food
Photography- Mary Collins