As an artiste glided swaying on a spacious thatched-roof stage with her light nimble footsteps akin to the pleasant evening breeze of mid-March under the starry sky with a crescent moon in the horizon, it almost felt being in Bali here in the heart of Indian capital New Delhi.
Dressed in traditional Balinese fineries of sarong, long scarves hanging from her waists and a typical elongated crown on head, the artiste was enacting lady Bumblebee. With the soft sweeping movements of her hands and body, tremble of her fingers and flutter of lashes and changing facial moods accompanying the music of drum and xylophone, she was waiting to be joined by her lover.
The courtship dance, known as Oleg, began in full rhythm as soon as she was joined by her male partner.
They danced in circle, chasing, cajoling and flirting with each other. Oleg was all about depicting various emotions--being in love, celebrating companionship and in the end bearing the fate of separation.
“It was the display of strong chemistry between the Bumblebees,” said 48-year-old Myomana Sedana, the male Oleg dancer. A Professor in School of Performing Arts in Bali, he was joined by his wife Seniashi in the duet. “I felt very good. My wife (lady Bumblebee) responded very well to my moves on stage. It was in a way a replay of our love story-- My wooing of her and eventually falling in love.”
Unlike the end of Oleg, theirs is a happy story which moved on with marriage and three grown-up children.
Sedana is here to participate in a four-day festival to mark intercultural dialogue between North East India and South East Asia, starting from March 17. Like Sedana, over 29 artistes from Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand have come to showcase the best of their countries cultural performances.
People can enjoy watching Indonesian dance of ‘Laras-leres (a dance of invoking gods), Sekar Pudyastuti (Welcome dance by the lady host in honour of guests), Cambodian dance of Monosanchetana (Romance of the Lovers) at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).
The foreign artistes have been joined by about 180 performers, artisans, painters and scholars from India’s north-eastern states. They have brought with them the best of north-eastern food, handicraft, furniture and nick-knacks to sell. An exhibition of photography, painting, textile, utensil and musical instruments is giving an insight into the way of life of northeast India.
Symposiums are other attractions of the festival where scholars and academics are delving into topics exploring various similarities these regions share, including historical links, physical features, lingual, cultural and food similarities.
The festival is a culmination of the month-long event that started in Guwahati, capital of Assam, on February 21. It later moved on to other northeastern states of Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Manipur before finally reaching Delhi.
Conceptualised, supported and funded by IGNCA, this is the first time that such an event has been hosted by India.
“The idea of holding such an event was to explore our common roots. It’s known that there are a lot of similarities as we are neigbouring states. And people to people exchange of dialogue and culture will help in exploring and enhancing our ties,” said Hekali Zhimomi, Director of North East Zone Cultural Centre.
She is optimistic that such events will help in having a “better understanding of the region, in forging friendship and perhaps in embarking on a common journey of understanding each other’s culture and common roots.”