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Beautiful performance by Sydney Soran Odori-tai, a Japanese cultural dance group.

This was taken at Belém Cultural Center, Lisbon - have a seat, if you like; or dance

 

A nice weekend to all my friends

 

See large: farm4.static.flickr.com/3168/2404665223_da0eb08811_b.jpg

    

I explored Mai Sơn in the evening and found my way to an amphitheater where a performance was taking place, which most of the town was attending.

The banner on stage read "chuong trinh văn nghệ

ky niệm 121 năm ngày sinh nhât bác

tôn vinh "thầy giơi - trò giơi" lấn thứ nhất

Năm Hoc 2010-2011

Mai Son, ngay 5/18/2011" which I believe says that it was a Cultural Performance celebrating the 121st anniversary of something related to teachers.

There were numerous performances, mostly by children, including lots of song and dance. A table of official-looking men appeared to be judging the event.

I was able to photograph right up close to the stage and in the wings where the kids waited for their turn to perform.

Cultural dance exhibition in the park

The Dancing House, or Fred and Ginger, is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building. It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.

The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous, and in the opinion of some it does not accord well with these architectural styles. The then Czech president, Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had avidly supported this project, hoping that the building would become a centre of cultural activity.

Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers but this nickname is now rarely used; moreover, Gehry himself was later "afraid to import American Hollywood kitsch to Prague",and thus discarded his own idea.

Windybrow Arts Centre Hillbrow Johannesburg South African Ethnic Zulu Cultural Dancing Jan 1999

Sindhi cultural day was celebrated on December 8, 2013, and here are the few images from the celebration held at Press Club, Karachi.

 

Sindhis celebrate Sindh Cultural day world wide every year on December 8, by wearing Ajrak (a type of shawl) & Sindhi Topi (cap). On that occasion, the musical programmes and rallies are held in many cities to mark the day with zeal.Major hallmarks of cities and towns are decorated with Sindhi Ajrak to highlight the cultural values of Sindh. The people across Sindh exchange gifts of Ajrak and Topi at various ceremonies.Even, the children and women are dressed up in Ajrak, assembling at the grand gathering, where famous Sindhi singers sing Sindhi songs, which depicts love and progress of Sindh. The musical performances of the artists compel the participants to dance on Sindhi tunes and ‘Jeay Sindh Jeay-Sindh Wara Jean’.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Sindh

 

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Su-Tarang 2015, an Odissi dance performance by Utsav Educational & Cultural Society, Ranjana's Odissi Dance Academy on 3rd may 2015. A Celebration of Odissi Dance by Disciples of Guru Ranjana Gauhar (Padmashree).

 

Odissi, also known as Orissi, is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences. The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. 1st century BCE bas-reliefs in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneswar) testify to its antiquity. It was suppressed under the British Raj, but has been reconstructed since India gained independence. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the Tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis and upon the basic square stance known as Chauka or Chouka that symbolises Lord Jagannath. This dance is characterised by various Bhangas (Stance), which involves stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The common Bhangas are Bhanga, Abanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.

 

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Finally made it home after the usual comedy of airport delays, missed connections, etc...It was great to see my pups Sadie and Bailey, I always miss them so when I travel... :-)

 

The second half of our time in New Mexico was spent at the fab Hyatt resort located in the Santa Ana Pueblo...given it's location on the pueblo, they had many programs for kids and adults to educate about Native American culture and traditions...we attended several of these with Katie and Anthony: storytelling (where stories/legends that have been handed down through the generations were told, bread making and traditional dance...Here some of the Tamayame are doing some of the dances they shared with us...I was glad they offered these cultural programs, as they were interesting and we learned a lot about their history and traditions...

 

Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico

Chhau dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance, and is perhaps the oldest masked dance in the world, having originated in the soldiers barracks (chhauni) of the past when Rarh (part of Bengal and Bihar state of India) was a mighty military nation. It is popular in the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There are three subgenres of the dance, based on its places of origin and development - Seraikella Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau and Purulia Chhau.

 

In 2010 the Chhau dance was inscribed in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

The Chhau dance is mainly performed during spring festival of Chaitra Parva which lasts for thirteen days. The Chhau blends within it forms of both dance and martial practices employing mock combat techniques, stylized gaits of birds and animals and movements based on the chores of village housewives. The dance is performed by male dancers from families of traditional artists, and is performed at night in an open space with traditional and folk music, played on the reed pipes mohuri and shehnai with a variety of drums accompanying the music ensemble including the dhol, dhumsa (a large kettle drum) and kharka or chad-chadi. The themes for these dances include local legends, folklore and episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other abstract themes like Mahishasura Mardini. The Chhau dance is mainly performed by the Munda, Mahato, Kalindi, Pattnaik, Samal, Daroga, Mohanty, Acharya, Bhol, Kar, Dubey, and Sahoo communities. The musical accompaniment for the dance is provided by people of communities known as Mukhis, Kalindis, Ghadheis and Dhadas who are also involved in the making of the instruments.

Masks are the integral part of Chhau Dance in Purulia and Seraikella where the craft of mask-making is undertaken by communities of traditional painters known as Maharanas, Mohapatras and Sutradhars.

  

Charida - the village of traditional ‘Chhau mask’ makers.

 

Charida village is a must see tourist destiny in Purulia district within the state of West Bengal, India, for its traditional artisans of ‘Chhau masks’. Being located in the foothills of Ayodhya it is 5 kilometers from Bagmundih and 29 kilometers from Balarampur. The nearest railway station is Balarampur which is just 16 kilometers from Charida. From Kolkata you can reach Purulia town by train, bus or car and then to Bagmundih or Balrampur from where you can plan your visit to Charida to experience and see the artisans at work.

Chhau is famous for its colorful dress and the mask. Charida is a village of artisans who for generations have been engaged in the making of Chau mask. They are called sutradhars or wood carvers by caste. Surprisingly, these artisans know their Gods and Goddesses and their stories by heart. About 250 artisan families in Charida are involved in this art of mask making. It requires deft hands to create these large masks having powerful expression of the characters, because the facial expressions cannot be shown during the act.

 

Subject of Chau dance has changed with time. Earlier it used to be mythological stories from the Ramayana but now a days storyline has changed with time in few performances. Certain acrobatic form has been incorporated, performed by an individual, not connected to the storyline, rather for mere entertainment, as I have seen very recently at Gope Garh Eco Park, West Midnapore, West Bengal. I will share these photographs later on.

 

Windybrow Arts Centre Hillbrow Johannesburg South African Ethnic Zulu Cultural Dancing Jan 1999

Indian Cultural Dance

Mama Africa Cultural Music and Dance Long Street Cape Town Capital of South Africa May 1998

Kcap South African Zulu Cultural Dance Group Africa Centre London July 2000

Kcap South African Zulu Cultural Dance Group Africa Centre London Sepia June 2000

Siso South African Zulu Cultural Dance & Fashion Havercourt Studio London with Pinkie

@ Nong Nooch Village, Thailand.

 

Beautiful cultural dance with stunning traditional Thai costumes and colors. More stunning photos to be uploaded soon...

 

To read my Amazing Thailand travel experience, click on this link:

When Culture Meets The World

 

This shot had been listed in EXPLORE (Oct 30, 2008) -- www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/2008/10/30/page18

Kcap South African Zulu Cultural Dance Group Africa Centre London June 2000

Kcap South African Zulu cultural ethnic dance group from Durban at the Africa Centre London

Kagura, a shamanic ritual of ancient Japan was performed here recently. Team Viva attended

 

Shinto, the ancient Japanese religion has many rites and rituals relating to sacred worship. Among them is the Kagura, a theatrical dance, performed wearing heavy, colourful costumes of animals, with demon masks and featuring graceful body movements.

 

It was delivered by the Iwami Kagura troupe. The whole extravaganza was divided in three parts.

 

The last was particularly riveting. It involved a huge bamboo and paper serpent, about 40cm in diameter and 16mts long.

 

Tomoharu Katsuta, director of The Japan-India Association explained, “This is a sacred dance offered to Gods and Goddess at local shrines during the autumn harvest festival. It is based on old scriptures and was begun during 1100AD, by Shinto priests. Ordinary folk began performing it from the start of the Meiji Era, from 1869-1912, using Taiko drums, hand claps and flutes.”

 

It originally lasted for 12 hours, beginning from 7pm. It ended by 7am. The Delhi show was organised by ICCR and supported by the Embassy of Japan.

 

The evening began with a section called the Jin-rin, named after a demon, represented with a big mask. It was followed by Ebisu, the of fishing and Orochi, the name of a giant serpent. “According to myth, Jin-rinwas a winged demon king who flew all over Japan and killed people.” Later, King Chuai, second son of Emperor Yamato Takeru decided to kill the Jin-rin. The second piece featured Ebisu and Daikoku, God of wealth and prosperity. This is usually performed at weddings and auspicious ceremonies.

 

Orochi’s story involves an old couple and their daughter. The serpent would take the girls away and kill them. The couple was saved by the hero, Susano no Mikoto, who was exiled from the Heaven called Takamagahara. He asked the couples to make eight barrels of strong sake (rice wine), because the Orochi serpent had eight heads and eight tails. And its length swept over eight mountains and eight valleys.

 

“Mikoto succeeded in killing the monster while it was drunk and sleeping. Since then, sake is used to be drink in the weddings,” explained Tomoharu Katsuta.

 

He added, “This traditional dance form is used as a tool for Japans’ cultural exchange activities. It includes the Orochi (giant evil Serpent) episode, which received acclaim for its scale and dynamic movement. And the Iwami Kagura is a source of pride for locals. However, the big masks used, with their small eyes, create problem for performers vision. And the heavy costumes weigh over 20kgs, with gold and silver threads, plus glass beads.” Carrying the heavy serpent is also a tough job.

 

[Credit to Pioneer article]

Kcap South African Zulu Cultural Dance Group Africa Centre London July 2000

Lion dance at Khoo Kongsi, Georgetown

Photographed at annual flower show, organized at Eden garden, Kolkata, by Department of forestry, West Bengal, India.

 

Chhau dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance which is popular in the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There are three subgenres of the dance, based on its places of origin and development, Seraikella Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau and Purulia Chhau.

Chhau is perhaps the oldest masked dance in the world having originated in the soldiers barracks (chhauni) of the past when Rarh (part of Bengal and Bihar state of India) was a mighty military nation.

The Chhau dance is mainly performed during regional festivals, especially the spring festival of Chaitra Parva which lasts for thirteen days and in which the whole community participates. The Chhau blends within it forms of both dance and martial practices employing mock combat techniques, stylized gaits of birds and animals and movements based on the chores of village housewives. The dance is performed by male dancers from families of traditional artists or from local communities and is performed at night in an open space with traditional and folk music, played on the reed pipes mohuri and shehnai. A variety of drums accompany the music ensemble including the dhol (a cylindrical drum), dhumsa (a large kettle drum) and kharka or chad-chadi. The themes for these dances include local legends, folklore and episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other abstract themes like Mahishasura Mardini.

The Chhau dance is mainly performed by the Munda, Mahato, Kalindi, Pattnaik, Samal, Daroga, Mohanty, Acharya, Bhol, Kar, Dubey, and Sahoo communities. The musical accompaniment for the dance is provided by people of communities known as Mukhis, Kalindis, Ghadheis and Dhadas who are also involved in the making of the instruments. Masks form an integral part of Chhau Dance in Purulia and Seraikella where the craft of mask-making is undertaken by communities of traditional painters known as Maharanas, Mohapatras and Sutradhars.

 

In 2010 the Chhau dance was inscribed in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

  

The Story of Mahisasuramardini : The myth.

 

Durga, meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible", is a popular fierce form of the Hindu Goddess or Devi. She is depicted with multiple arms,carrying various weapons and riding a ferocious lion( in Bengal). She is pictured as battling or slaying demons, particularly Mahishasura, the buffalo demon.

Her triumph as Mahishasura Mardini, Slayer of the buffalo Demon is a central episode of the scripture Devi Mahatmya. Her victory is celebrated annually in the festivals of Durga Puja.

The word Shakti means divine energy/force/power, and Durga is the warrior aspect of the Divine Mother/Brahman(Supreme Absolute Godhead).

As a goddess, Durga's feminine power contains the combined energies of all the gods. Each of her weapons was given to her by various gods: Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandalu, Kuber's Ratnahar, etc.

According to a narrative in the Devi Mahatmya story of the Markandeya Purana text, Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight an asura (demon) named Mahishasura. Brahma had given Mahishasura the power not to be defeated by a male. Mahishasura had unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds, and he could not be defeated by any man or god, anywhere. The gods were helpless. Shiva, realizing that no man or god (male) can defeat Mahishasura, made a request to his wife Parvati(Durga) to take the role of a female goddess warrior in order to slay the demon. Parvati took his request and went to the Ashram of priest disciple named Katyayan to assume the role of a warrior. Meanwhile, the gods went to Brahma for help and, with Brahma, then made their way to Vaikuntha—the place where Vishnu lay on Ananta Naag. They found both Vishnu and Shiva, and Brahma eloquently related the reign of terror Mahishasur had unleashed on the three worlds. To save the worlds, Vishnu, Shiva and all of the gods emitted beams of fierce light from their bodies. The blinding sea of light reached Parvati at the Ashram of the priest Katyayan and Durga emerged from this pool of light. The goddess Durga took the name Katyaayani from the priest. She introduced herself in the language of the Rig-Veda, saying she was the form of the supreme female aspect of Brahman (Prakriti) who had created all the gods. Now she had come to fight the demon to save the three Worlds. They did not create her; it was her lila that she emerged from their combined energy. The gods were blessed with her compassion.

To combat the evil Mahishasura, she had appeared in a great blinding light, to combat this demon and end it for all to be in peace. The terrible Mahishasura rampaged against her, changing forms many times. First he was a buffalo demon, and she defeated him with her sword. Then he changed forms and became an elephant that tied up the goddess's lion and began to pull it towards him. The goddess cut off his trunk with her sword. The demon Mahishasur continued his terrorizing, taking the form of a lion, and then the form of a man, but both of them were gracefully slain by Durga.

Then Mahishasur began attacking once more, starting to take the form of a buffalo again. When Mahishasur had half emerged into his buffalo form, he was paralyzed by the extreme light emitting from the goddess's body. The goddess then resounded with laughter before cutting Mahishasur's head down with her sword.

Thus Durga slew Mahishasur, thus is the power of the fierce compassion of Durga. Hence, MataDurga is also known as Mahishasuramardhini—the slayer of Mahishasur.

 

Worshiping Durga, As I feel :

 

To me worshiping goddess Durga encompasses so many deeply seated aspects of human lives and nature. The imagination of such a Goddess-form has its age old story depicted in the Hindu Puranas and that had been fabricated by the wisdom of ages as a symbolic one for Bio-Geo-Socio-Economic-Cultural and Aesthetical upliftment of humankind and its relationship with nature, through the practice of worshiping.

 

Once in a year She, The Mother Durga, is thought to come from her abode at mount Kailash in Himalaya to the land of Bengal at the time of Autumn, the finest of all six seasons when Bengal turns into a nature’s paradise. The snow white clouds against the deep azure of the sky, the gentle cool breeze carrying the sweet fragrance of flowers, the turning colors of the leaves, the golden sunlit lush green paddy fields and the waving clusters of dazzling white inflorescence of Kash dramatically prepare the minds of Bengal apt for celebration of life. Artists of versatile talents from Bengal and other states culminate their finest ever skill and efforts for making the idols of Durga using conventional natural resources like clay, wood, organic colors, that are all biodegradable. The pandals( the temporary abodes of Devi Durga) all over Bengal, especially in urban cities turn into the finest galleries of art and culture covering an unimaginably wide range of form and traditions, represented by Bengal and neighboring states of India. Durga puja becomes a wide open opportunity to discover and re-discover the art and artistry of Bengal, and not only that, this is the biggest festival of Bengal that provides a great competitive platform for innumerable artists and workers to learn and earn.

The time of Puja is the time for togetherness, is the time for sharing and caring. The traditional concept of making the idols of Durga, her four children and her husband Lord Shiva against a single background structure( which is in Bengali: Ek chalchitra) seems to me a very symbolic one! It implicates to me a strong bondage between the family members, or in a greater sense the relationships between individuals. An example of unity in diversity.

 

To save the world, Brahmma(the god of creation), Vishnu( the god of sustenance), Moheshwara/ Shiva(the god of destruction) and all of the gods emitted beams of fierce light from their bodies. The blinding sea of light reached Parvati, and Durga emerged from this pool of light. This is very symbolic. I see durga as a domain where there have been convergence of all form of energies; she is the symbolic epitome of unified force, as it is the most cherished theory of modern-day physics- “the unified field theory”. And therefore, She is the Symbolic epitome of concentrated knowledge and wisdom. She can create(sristi), She can sustain( sthiti), and She can destroy(loy). She comes over here to create all good things and to sustain them on this earth, and to destroys all evil power, as depicted by triumph over Mahisasura.

 

Her four children are very symbolic to me for four aspects of socio-economic- cultural upliftment. These are the four aspects to create a balanced nation or a person as an individual.

“Lakhsmi”, her elder daughter, is a symbol of wealth. She carries with her a bunch of ripe paddy and a container of vermilion. Ripened paddy is the symbol of agricultural success. And vermilion is the symbol of peaceful marriage in Hindu custom.

“Swaraswati”, her younger daughter, is a symbol of art and culture. She carries with her a sitar, a classical Indian instrument depicting music, that is the highest form of the faculty of art.

“Kartika”, her elder son, is the commander-in-chief of the gods for war. He is the warrior and protector from enemies. He carries a bow and arrows. He knows how to target an enemy. And he is the symbol of leadership qualities.

“Ganesha”, her youngest son. He is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom.

And Mother Durga is the creator of all her four children, the four faculties associated with biological, social, cultural and intellectual evolution of man.

Therefore, She is the idealistic epitome of Gunas (qualities), that we all her children should acquire for. And there lies the true meaningfulness of worshiping our mother, Durga.

On the tenth day after the triumph, the day of Vijaya Dashami, mother along with her family sets her journey back to her final adobe in himalaya, leaving the earthly world behind. The clay idol is thus immersed in the holy water of Ganges to symbolize her journey. And thus the whole celebration comes to an end.

 

Source: Wikipedia.

   

Driver falls off the boat. As Dancers rock him off. Cultural Cultural Dances at the Polynesian Culture Center Oahu Hawaii

Kagura, a shamanic ritual of ancient Japan was performed here recently. Team Viva attended

 

Shinto, the ancient Japanese religion has many rites and rituals relating to sacred worship. Among them is the Kagura, a theatrical dance, performed wearing heavy, colourful costumes of animals, with demon masks and featuring graceful body movements.

 

It was delivered by the Iwami Kagura troupe. The whole extravaganza was divided in three parts.

 

The last was particularly riveting. It involved a huge bamboo and paper serpent, about 40cm in diameter and 16mts long.

 

Tomoharu Katsuta, director of The Japan-India Association explained, “This is a sacred dance offered to Gods and Goddess at local shrines during the autumn harvest festival. It is based on old scriptures and was begun during 1100AD, by Shinto priests. Ordinary folk began performing it from the start of the Meiji Era, from 1869-1912, using Taiko drums, hand claps and flutes.”

 

It originally lasted for 12 hours, beginning from 7pm. It ended by 7am. The Delhi show was organised by ICCR and supported by the Embassy of Japan.

 

The evening began with a section called the Jin-rin, named after a demon, represented with a big mask. It was followed by Ebisu, the of fishing and Orochi, the name of a giant serpent. “According to myth, Jin-rinwas a winged demon king who flew all over Japan and killed people.” Later, King Chuai, second son of Emperor Yamato Takeru decided to kill the Jin-rin. The second piece featured Ebisu and Daikoku, God of wealth and prosperity. This is usually performed at weddings and auspicious ceremonies.

 

Orochi’s story involves an old couple and their daughter. The serpent would take the girls away and kill them. The couple was saved by the hero, Susano no Mikoto, who was exiled from the Heaven called Takamagahara. He asked the couples to make eight barrels of strong sake (rice wine), because the Orochi serpent had eight heads and eight tails. And its length swept over eight mountains and eight valleys.

 

“Mikoto succeeded in killing the monster while it was drunk and sleeping. Since then, sake is used to be drink in the weddings,” explained Tomoharu Katsuta.

 

He added, “This traditional dance form is used as a tool for Japans’ cultural exchange activities. It includes the Orochi (giant evil Serpent) episode, which received acclaim for its scale and dynamic movement. And the Iwami Kagura is a source of pride for locals. However, the big masks used, with their small eyes, create problem for performers vision. And the heavy costumes weigh over 20kgs, with gold and silver threads, plus glass beads.” Carrying the heavy serpent is also a tough job.

 

[Credit to Pioneer article]

Khajuraho Dance Festival, Feb 2017. Colorful and brilliant classical dance forms of India with roots in the rich cultural traditions offer a feast for the eyes during a weeklong extravaganza. Khajuraho Temples in Madhya Pradesh are popular for their architectural wonders and sculptures.

Windybrow Arts Centre Hillbrow Johannesburg South African Ethnic Xhosa Cultural Dancing Jan 1999

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