A festival aimed at healing
It was indeed a multi-arts festival with a difference. Highlighting the therapeutic benefits of music and dance in restoring individual health and harmony, the two-day International Ancient Arts Festival/Symposium 2012, was held under the aegis of Rays of Wisdom Society supported by ICCR, Ministry of Culture, Delhi Tourism and UP Tourism and presented artists from across the globe, including Pakistan, China, Iran and India.
This was the third edition of the festival which aimed to bring together the modern and the traditional, scholars and artists to demonstrate the scientific basis of traditional arts and their integration in our day-to-day lives.
It highlighted the deep connection between science, spirituality and ancient performing arts and witnessed participation from Indian and international scholars, making it perhaps the only multi-arts event which tried to educate while entertaining.
Odissi dancer and spiritualist Reela Hota, festival director and founder member of Rays of Wisdom says, “If you see ancient cultures, the symbols, instruments, languages and customs have so many similarities as they were made by intuitive wisdom developed by dhyan.
“By bringing them together, we hoped to showcase this commonality. We have expanded to visual arts also this year.” She added, “The aim of this festival was to highlight how music, dance and vital therapeutic practices in traditional systems of healing can combine to meet lifestyle challenges of today.”
Begun with an aim to showcase unity and spiritual significance of the world’s culture through dance and music, the fest also highlighted how dance can help achieve a more balanced lifestyle.
The festival kickstarted on May 16 with a collaborative performance of Indian dance forms highlighting the spiritual significance. It included Odissi by Reela Hota, Kathak by Vidha Lal, creative dance by Naresh Kumar, Gaudiya Nritya by Gaudiya Nritya Bharati, Pung Cholam and Ras Leela by Prem Manipur cultural association.
The second performance was a soul-stirring Sufi music performance by Pakistan’s Ustad Hamid Ali Khan. Hamid Ali is a star performer from Pakistan. Being a distinguished representative of the Patiala Gharana, Ustad Hamid Ali is considered one of the finest exponents of ghazal and classical alike. His famous tracks include Meeno tere jea, Laagi rey tou say lagi.
The festival also included a symposium on “the body as sacred instrument” by Dr Vivien Marcow-Speiser of Cambridge University; a talk on “healing sounds for children with disabilities: finding the power of love to facilitate growth and change” by Dr Phillipe Speiser, Director of Arts Therapy at Whittier Street Health Center, Roxbury, followed by a talk by Dr Aruna Broota about Arts in Psychotherapy and finally a talk by Manissha Khanna on the relation between painting and healing.
The finale was a performance by none other than the veterans of Hindustani classical Padma Bhushan Pandits Rajan-Sajan Mishra.