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Vancouver Diwali Fest to include multiple dance styles

There will be multiple Diwali celebrations around Vancouver in the coming weeks

Royal Academy of Bhangra students rehearsing on a Friday night. Photo by Lisa Tanh
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Reported by Lisa Tanh

The traditional Indian dance groups that perform at Diwali festivals throughout Vancouver are far more versatile then one might imagine.

Though the performers will please crowds with their traditional Indian dancing in performances leading up to and including Oct. 19 to 23, in their down time the groups are actually practicing and performing culturally diverse dances. In the past these have included Bhangra Highland Scottish fusion and South African Bhangra fusion says Hardeep Singh Sahota who runs the Royal Academy of Bhangra.

“Our focus is towards providing a wide range of education about our culture, dance, and to learn about others,”  Sahota said.

Including Canadian soul music this year for Canada’s 150th

Kriti Dewan, the board chair of Diwali Fest in Vancouver said this year’s event will incorporate a spectrum of Indian cultures — as well as Canadian music and poetry to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“There will be 12 different performances and some of them will be doing Bollywood belly dancing and Bhangra dancing, while others are performing Canadian soul music and spoken word poetry,” Dewan said.

Multiple performances around Vancouver

Some of the performances will take place in Downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano and Trout Lake Community Centre.

The Royal Academy of Bhangra, will also perform on Oct. 19 at the start of Diwali at the Channel Punjabi Diwali Gala in Surrey.

“When we opened our academy, the moral was to actually promote the education about the Punjab folk dance and music culture,” Sahota said.

Diwali Festival, or the festival of lights, begins on Oct. 19 and runs until Oct. 23. Amongst the luminous coloured lights, candles and clothing, the festival traditionally celebrates various spiritual victories, such as light over darkness and good over evil. This year’s Diwali throughout Vancouver will also celebrate Canada’s heritage in the form of traditional Indian dance.

 

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