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World Culture Festival: Raising funds through flash mobs and with practice on Skype, visitors put on stellar show

As the evening progressed, the loudest cheer came for the Japanese troupe that brought to the fore their acrobatic skills set to pop and house music.

world culture festival, sri sri ravi shankar, ravi shankar, wcf sri sri, wcf news, wcf delhi, delhi news, india news, wcf events Artistes from Japan perform at the World Culture Festival Sunday. Praveen Khanna

A few months ago, at Eindhoven town in the Netherlands, a cooking workshop and two flash mobs were held, aiming to raise funds for a group of people to visit India. On March 13, a group of six people, dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes, was pleased with itself. They performed with another 100 from across Europe on the third day of the World Culture Festival in Delhi.

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“I am a researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and also an Art of Living (AOL) teacher. We are all professionals with no prior experience of dance but when we found out about the 35th year celebrations of AOL, we decided to take part in it, and have funded the trip ourselves, by raising funds,” says Arpita.

Bala, another member of the group, says it was a month ago that rehearsals for their three-minute act began. Since the 106 participants are spread across Europe, it was all done on Skype and video calling, adds Bala.

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For American AOL teacher, Annelies Richmond too, Skype was the medium for practice sessions as she presented a hip hop piece, titled “Make noise for peace” on day three of the event. “We began training in January, and since most of us stay in different parts of the US, we had people driving down from really far away. We also used Skype to conduct classes, and the first time we all rehearsed together was only a couple of days ago at a school in Delhi,” says Richmond, who was a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera. Through this act, Richmond wanted to spread the message of togetherness and peace, something she learnt at AOL a decade ago.

For 57-year-old Oscar Gustavo Peris too, this was more than just an opportunity to visit India from Argentina. “Dancing and meditation are related. They both impart the idea of peace and humanity, and I want people to get that through our performance. I am a part of the tango crew, and I call this Sri Sri Tango,” he says, with a laugh.

Apart from local talent on display — with 1,000 Rabindra Sangeet singers, 1,350 ghumar dancers from Rajasthan, 452 Bihu dancers and 1,050 Kuchipudi dancers, among others — there was representation from Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria and Turkey too. The Indian diaspora also made its presence felt in the international acts.

Dressed in traditional Indonesian robes, with a floral headgear, Prajakti Deshmukh, 54, participated in the dance-drama “Cosmic Rhythm”, as well as the finale. “I am from Mumbai and have been living in Indonesia for two-and-a-half years. I trained in Kathak for 13 years, and jumped at the opportunity of participating in the celebrations of AOL’s 35 years… It has been a mesmerising experience,” says Deshmukh.

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As the evening progressed, the loudest cheer came for the Japanese troupe that brought to the fore their acrobatic skills set to pop and house music. Phones popped up to record videos, the audience whistled and screamed, and other participants too began an impromptu jig.

First published on: 14-03-2016 at 12:20:58 am
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