'India Now' Festivities Begin with a Fanfare

05/08/2007

The London summer season opened with a fanfare introducing 'India Now' celebrating India's vast cultural diversity and fast-growing economic success.

The launch of the festivities in July saw a floating barge on the River Thames displaying a mini model of the Taj.  We'd been in pursuit of the mini Taj Mahal driving along the Embankment but, it eluded us and we missed seeing it on the R Thames.  However, on 3rd August at the Trafalgar Square Festival there it was!  The tiny Taj replica resting on a plinth (hand-painted by artist Suchi) was propped up at the base of Nelson's Column...how charming, how unusual, how incongruous!  What next can we expect to see there...Shiva manifest in Trafalgar Square?  Well, perhaps he did in the spirit of a Bharatanatyam dance stepping out on every beat, levitating before us in a dazzling aerial dance. 

Stardust was in the air as we watched in amazement dancers in stunning costumes and all the wonderful dance sequences intertwining tradition with new inspiration.  The piece de resistence being a bold act in the dance routine performed on an arch shaped rig in front of the National Gallery.  Here, an acrobatic dancer clambered upwards on the big rig swaddling herself in a long length of white fabric as she rose and, on reaching the top she suddenly let herself go unfolding herself and unfurling the fabric in a spectacular and daring drop wowing the crowd.  The acrobatic feat finished with a sparkling flourish of fireworks.

Dusk was descending and as I glanced over my left shoulder I saw a rosy ribbon of light emblazon the dusky sky.  Against this dramatic backdrop could be seen the gigantic glistening white marble sculpture of the heavily pregnant Alison Lapper lovingly carved by Marc Quinn.  Strange, diagonally opposite stood the mini Taj a symbol of everlasting love.  Height of human endeavour, beauty and creativity never cease to surprise and we spectators were ever grateful for being treated to such marvellous renditions of diverse dance and look forward to future fantasy.

By Amita Chatterji  ©

IndiaNow14

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