India and the UK are bound together through history and many shared values. The two countries have a long history of cooperation across many fields including economics, business, science, and culture. Running from May to November 2017, and in the years that marks 70 years of Indian independence, India@UK2017, a UK-India Year of Culture is a year-long celebration of this partnership that will see a vast programme of cultural exchange and activity taking place in cities across both countries.
The festival’s five strands will showcase the cultural diversity of India: ZEE JLF @ British Library, India @ Edinburgh, Independence Gala @ Southbank Centre, Festival of Dance & Theatre; and the UK premiere of the Freedom Symphony by Dr L Subramanium and the London Symphony Orchestra.
India@UK2017 is also supporting Ravi Shankar’s Sukanya, the 8th London Indian Film Festival, and the Darbar Festival 2017 with Akram Khan this year.
Organised by the Indian High Commission and Ministry of Culture, with partner organisations, the festival looks to blend artistic traditions from the UK with a wide spectrum of Indian cultural and literary traditions.
Making a welcome return as part of the festival is the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company with Inter_rupted. Mangaldas, who also created Echoes for rising UK choreographer-dance Aakash Odedra, is noted for her remoulding of traditional kathak with contemporary sound, rhythm and light. Inter_rupted is a powerful work based on ideas of disintegration, fragility, vulnerability, age and transience. Mangaldass herself dances in a company of seven with music by Sajid Akbar performed live on stage.
Inter_rupted can be seen at the Tramway, Glasgow (October 20-21), Birmingham Hippodrome (October 23) and Sadler’s Wells (November 11) as part of the Darbar Festival.
Mangaldas will also perform a solo kathak piece at the Darbar Festival.
Also touring is Daksha Sheth Dance Company with Sari, which can be caught at mac Birmingham (September 23-24), Festival Theatre Edinburgh (September 27) and Tramway Glasgow (September 29-30).
India’s tradition of handwoven textiles, with its incredible range of colour, texture and design has, for millennia, been one the most visually striking elements of the Indian persona. As the quintessential expression of the weavers’ imagination, talent and skill, the ‘sari’ continues to be the jewel of the Indian handloom industry. Sari is a celebration of the creation of this unique drape, in constant play with the body, both in stillness and in movement.
Dance will also feature in the Independence Gala @ Southbank Centre on October 4 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, in which we are promised a rich and eclectic coming together of India and UK through dance and music.
In Scotland, India @ Edinburgh will also showcase some of the best music, dance, theatre and crafts in association with Festivals Edinburgh. Majuli tells the tale of the island of the same name in Assam’s mighty Brahmaputra river, through an evocative narrative of movement, dance, music, and theatre Shilpika Bordoloi celebrates the spirit of Majuli and the intricate bond between people and their land at Edinburgh’s Dance Base.
Also in Edinburgh, Aditya Roy brings his story telling born out of martial arts training in the tale of Gurudakshina, while Kuch Puppet Theatre present a masked production of the eternal story of a child’s thoughts, Pinocchio. The Edinburgh Tattoo will feature Bollywood dance and The Naval Band.
For more information on the Year of Culture and more events in the UK and India, visit the British Council website.