Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Oceans and mountains of dance - Ashish Mohan Khokar

Indian dance is not just indoors any more but by the ocean and up in the mountains and dales. Dance history is being made in small, odd spaces. Metro India is saturated with festivals and fairs, tamashas and tantrums. Quaint places and countries, colleges in nooks and crannies of a bygone colonial setting, are now the new places for Indian dance. It’s not Bombay or Boston, Chennai or China but Mauritius and Fiji where Indian diaspora has come of age. Such countries have centuries of history, not recent settlers. No wonder the PM is taking time off (one day) to visit Fiji from Australia trip and the FM as in Foreign and not Finance, is headed for Mauritius!
MGI sounds like some French fusion group and it is. Mauritius is half French, half Indian. Mahatma Gandhi Institute is one of the top learning centres created by India in Mauritius. Indira Gandhi inaugurated it in 1976! Successive Indian governments have added to its lustre and enhanced its facilities. MGI is located in Moka, bang in the centre of the country that is few hundred km long. Imagine, a whole country that can be covered north to south, east to west in 2 hours of a beautiful drive! Imagine, crystal clear aqua turquoise waters, green fields of sugarcane and happy, sweet people who drive sensibly and live life peacefully. This is closest to paradise. Dr. Putanjani Mungur Purgus, Vandana to Indians, doctor of dance (Khairagarh University and Baroda) and the current head of school of performing arts has read all past issues of attendance, so she invites me as a Visiting Professor, to one of Mauritius navratnas of academia, the MGI, for a two week workshop/teaching of Indian Dance History, Aesthetics and Documentation. 

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