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My Dancing Experience in Ethiopia – 2nd Indo-African Summit 2011

Dance has always connected me to my soul and my inner identity all these years. It is my expression for all the emotions that a human body can hold, show, feel and react to. I entered the beautiful and mesmerizing world of dance when I was just 8 and since then it has been a spiritually growing journey for me. I did my arangetram(debut performance as a solo artist) in the year 2000 and since then have travelled far and wide across the length and breadth of India and the globe.

Every trip taught me something new and left me with beautiful memories to cherish. This trip was no different but yet special because it brought to me a realization that the colour, caste, creed and nationality of a person may be different but solidarity of artists is so conspicuous and we believe in it as a religion. Before I begin with my escapade details I would like to mention my special thanks to a few people and one person in specific because of whom this opportunity became a delightful and satisfying experience for me. That one person is none other than Manish, my boss & my friend and of the few other people it would be my Guruji, my parents and Sriram, CEO of our company. Apart from pursuing dance I have been working with iridium Interactive Ltd, an interactive web agency, for the past 4 years. The management has been extremely supportive of my dance I am really grateful to them that they have been allowing me to leave for my rehearsals whenever required and granting me leave if my performances require travelling whether in India or abroad. I am glad that I have a supportive boss who understands my passion for dance and gives me space to pursue my hobby besides my work.

Now it is story time. This time around I travelled to Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia for a 13 days cultural tour as a part of the Indo African delegation. This trip was different from the start because for one it was not with my own Guru but one of the most revered Kathak gurus Shri. Rajendra Gangani. He had brought together 4 dance forms from India namely: Kathak(only so obvious), Bharatanayam (me and my colleagues), Chhau from Mayurbhanj, Orissa and Pooncholam(the Manipuri drums). Rigorous rehearsals with creative insights from each group and the musicians made the entire experience a once in a lifetime moment.

We presented about 11 shows during the 13 day tour. We had to work with African groups from: Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Algeria and Egypt and do a combined dance piece. The experience was so enriching and I must admit that the Africans truly have a great sense of rhythm. The surprising bit is that each country has its own set of instruments predominantly consisting of drums. Each drum is so different from the other and the sounds also vary. Quiet an amazing experience it was. The best part of the entire show was the day when our PM Shri. Manmohan Singh arrived for the 2nd Indo-African Summit 2011 and we welcomed him. Our minister for external Affairs Mr. S.M. Krishna was also a part of the PM’s delegation. We gave an exclusive performance for the PM and his delegates along with the artists from Egypt and Kenya. It was highly appreciated and Mr. S.M. Krishna said that he would like to see more of such cultural collaboration in the near future between India and Africa.

Though Addis doesn’t have many places to visit, its Trinity Church is a place I would never forget. One step on the church’s gate and I felt a rush of emotions that made me feel I am somewhere near to supreme. I wish his hand is always over me and I get more such opportunities in life. This trip has embarked me on a journey where art is the medium of communication and the world becomes a stage to express.



10 Discussions on
“My Dancing Experience in Ethiopia – 2nd Indo-African Summit 2011”
  • Hi, Jahnavi, I find your blog is quit intriguing, thought I am not a dancer myself, but your information on the African drums is fascinating as my interest lies in music…I hope my music would also take me around the world like the way your dance took you on trips…Anyway all the best and may you be bless with twinkle toes for dancing.

  • Hey!!!

    Thanks Vamshi i would love to perform @ the Hyderabad office.

    and Thanks Freddie for the appreciation. Its always a pleasure to see people appreciating art. We ain’t formally introduced though so i wasn’t aware that you are a part of the II Hyderabad. Nice knowing your views on my article…!!! Hope to interact with you soon.

  • congrats! janhavi, Really appreciate your good work. You have been a role model for many..good going.