Dancing in the Streets

The DC Arts Commission presents the Dance Festival DC 2005, which opens tomorrow with A Bhangra Dance Party: A childrenÂ’s dance workshop celebrating South India at the Sitar Center on 1700 Kalorama Ave, NW. The free festival will feature performances and interactive workshops showcasing a wide array of folk and traditional dance forms throughout the city.

And yes, I noticed. While I am of course excited about the inclusion of South Asian dance forms in this yearÂ’s festival, I wish the description of the events would match the titles. Bhangra is indigenous to North India and Pakistan, so the correct title, if the folk dance in question was Bhangra, would be a dance workshop celebrating North India/Pakistan or Dancing in Punjab even. Yeah, it might not be as catchy or succinct, but accuracy should perhaps be more important. I know Bhangra is better known than say Kuchipudi, but Kuchipudi is actually represented in the second workshop, Global Fusion: A Kaleidoscope of dance, music, and song from around the world. Maybe they meant a childrenÂ’s dance workshop celebrating South Asia? Alas, this is a minor quibble.

South Asia will also be represented by the Natyabhoomi School of Dance at a 2 pm performance on Saturday October 1, at the National Zoo.

View the entire schedule here, and watch a 30 second preview clip of the dance festival here.

6 thoughts on “Dancing in the Streets

  1. when i was in college, this would have bothered me a lot. i was frustrated with the assumption that north indian practices were “indian” and there wasn’t much awareness of south indian culture. most indian restaurants in america are north indian, bhangra is from the north, etc etc, it just seemed like north indian culture was the “indian face” that american saw. being a southie, this pissed me off because i felt like my sense of indian-ness wasn’t as valid, contrary to what i saw at home.

    anyway i’ve grown up a bunch since then, and i’d like there to be space for everything and am all for the inclusiveness of “south asian”-ness with space for celebrating individual cultural differences.

    sajit’s ire just reminded me of those feelings. maybe they should have named that first event A Bhangra Dance Party: A childrenÂ’s dance workshop celebrating the ostracization South India

    … i kid, i kid ;)

  2. For some reason I’m reminded of Kamal Hasan’s character in “Salangai Oli” who wanted to integrate the various dance forms in India into bharathanatyam and call it “Bhaaratha-natyam”. Ahh, the memories.

  3. “Dancing, face painting and mask making workshop..”

    What the…??? I didn’t know bhangra included face painting and mask making. Ah DC gov. You gots to love ‘em.

  4. I didn’t know bhangra included face painting and mask making.

    Well, it does in South India, birthplace of bhangra! (I think I’m going to let my facial hair grow out in commemoration of this.)