B'lore artistes to wow Washington

Cultural diplomacy

B'lore artistes to wow Washington

Bangalore’s famous Raghu Dixit Project and Nrityagram Dance Ensemble will be performing on March 4 and 6. Girish Karnad’s play “Broken Images” will be staged on March 16. Karnad himself will speak about his celluloid journey and Indian cinema on March 19—along with eminent actress Sharmila Tagore and well-known film critic Sadanand Menon.

And they all are coming in theatres near the Obamas. Washington’s John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts has tied up with Indian Council for Cultural Relations based in New Delhi to present “Maximum India”—billed as “an unprecedented celebration of Indian arts and culture”—right in the US capital.

The Indian Embassy in Washington is also involved in organising the festival, which is going to be the first of its kind in the US in about 25 years. Raghu Dixit Project is a band led by Bangalore-based microbiologist-turned-musician Raghu Dixit, who is known for seamless amalgamation of ethnic music of India and styles from around the world. It will perform at the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center.

The dance ensemble from Nrityagram, which was set up by danseuse Protima Gauri Bedi near Hesarghatta Lake as India’s first residential school for classical dances in 1990, will enthrall the American audience with its performance at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre.

The Obamas could have only a few glimpses of the cultural vivacity of India during his three-day-tour—while shaking legs with the children performing Koli dance at the Holy Name School in Mumbai and enjoying the performances of Rajasthani Manganiyar singers from Alwar and Barmer and Shillong Chamber of Choirs at the banquet hosted by President Pratibha Patil in honour of the visiting dignitaries.

But that was enough to make Obama say that he and Michelle “learned that you don’t simply visit India, you experience India —in the richness of its traditions, in its diversity, the optimism and the warmth of its people.”

“By bringing India’s culture —its music, dance, and theatre; its textiles, jewels, and cuisine—to America, the Kennedy Center will give the American public the same opportunity to experience ‘Incredible India’ that President Obama and I have had in our travels throughout this vast country,” said US envoy to India Timothy J Roemer.

As New Delhi and Washington shift focus to cultural diplomacy after playing hardball for months during the run-up to much-hyped visit of Obama, it is time for the Americans to enjoy  Zakir Hussain on Tabla, violin recital by the group of L Subramanyam, dance-ballet ‘Shakuntalam’ in Bharatnatyam style by Usha Venkateswaran’s Group, Gulabo Sapera’s Rajasthani Folk Ensemble, ‘The Child’, a fusion dance by Tanushree Shankar’s troupe, rock band Parikrama, Pandit Rajan.

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