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An Indian Summer 2012 – Saturday

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CURVE THEATRE 11.00am Hatha Yoga

One of the first workshops of the festival and we had got off to a fantastic start. In the true style of Leicester the room displayed the vast cultural diversity our city is renowned for. The room was welcomed into the free session by repeating the all-important ‘om’ mantra; creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere. The professional yoga instructor, Dr. Jaydeep C. Joshi, displayed how to use pressure points as a means of connecting with organs in the body and how to remove anger through a calming exercise which blocks out the rest of the world. It definitely helps to be flexible when it comes to yoga as the ‘Manduka Ashan’ or ‘Frock Position’ proved; the participants were asked to sit in an upright position and touch the floor with their nose. One participant, Anjali Vyas, who has practiced the excerise in the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh, was impressed with the authentic and professional manner in which the session had been ran and said she would recommend it to someone else stating that it was a “great crash course” with true elements of the ancient art.

ORTON SQUARE 12.30pm The Launch of ‘Indian Summer’

The festival was declared officially open by the mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, who was glad to see the immense progress that the festival had made since last year and wanted to see it prosper even further in the years to come. Next up were two of the main forces behind the ‘Indian Summer’ team, Bipin Anand and Swati …. Swati used the perfect words to describe the festival: “organic, unique, bold and bright.” This grass-roots festival has definitely struck a chord with all members of the community regardless of their cultural backgrounds. There was also a member of the Arts Council, the body which provided funding for the festival, who spoke of how the festival enriches lives, inspires people and highlights the cultural diversity within Leicester. Also present was a representative from the University of Leicester who lent a helping hand in the preparation for the festival. The mayor then took an inaugural ride in one of two traditional Indian rickshaws available over the weekend.

STANDS IN ORTON SQUARE

HEAD 2 HEAD HAIRDRESSERS

There was no need for men to groom themselves before they attended the festival as they were being fully pampered by the guys at Head 2 Head Hairdressers who were performing authentic Indian street haircuts and beard shaving.

KATIE HOLLAND

Dancer, teacher and performer of Arabic and Indian dance forms. Having lived in India for the past six years and performing in a wide range of locations, including Bollywood, she performed on both days of the festival in solo performances. As well as dancing she was also selling handmade jewellery from India and Nepal.

CURVE THEATRE 3.00PM Tabla & Dance

This was a fusion of dance, music and fashion all rolled into one spectacular show. Two dancers in stunning designs by DMU graduate Sarika Pancholi displaying their talents to a mix of modern beats and classic tabla sounds. With all of this on display it was easily understandable as to why there was a full-house for this show; it was definitely one of the main attractions. An interview with designer Sarika Pancholi shed some light on her extravagant designs with inspiration coming from two different Indian dance themes, Khathak and Bharat Natium, which are symbolised within the texture and movement of the outfits. It was clear that an enormous amount of planning and detail had gone into the designs and she stated that she had been planning and researching since April which is clearly reflected in the outfits as they mirror the two dance structures in appearance. This show was a true testament to the abundance of artistic talent brewing in Leicester.

THE EXCHANGE 3.45pm ‘Are Indian traditions being lost?’

This was one of the most interesting and intellectual talks of the whole festival. The atmosphere was stimulating and was a session where everyone was welcome to make a contribution and there were many of those put forward. One of the first questions posed was whether or not it is impractical for Western Indians to live traditionally? The main stream of thought gravitated towards how Indians maintain their culture; whether it be through their clothing, the use of their mother-tongue or whether or not parents are sharing their culture with their own children. One thing that everyone present thought was vital was that if you are proud of your culture then you should show it; but always in a respectful manner and never demeaning anybody else’s culture. The final piece of wisdom imparted to the audience was that traditions can be maintained as Indians have proved time and time again through their ability to adapt to any country, climate and environment as they are capable of building successful lives for themselves wherever they go. All in all it is safe to say that this year’s festival was a remarkable success with people from all walks of life and cultures coming together to partake in an outstandingly impressive event with something for everyone.

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© An Indian Summer 2013
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