Heritage, Tradition at Festival of India

By Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan
August 11, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

The second annual Festival of India, held at Ottawa City Hall Aug. 9 – 11, showcased some of the many facets of one of humanities oldest cultures. 

On hand were demonstrations of Yoga, classical Indian music, pottery making, vegetarian cooking, spices and their secrets, henna tattoos, and dancing—lots of dancing, including Bollywood, classical, and drama dance. 

Vendors sold colourful clothing and glittering jewellery, and there were vegetarian meals available when attendees got hungry.

The Menaka Thakkar Dance Company from Toronto presented “Prince Rama in the Wilderness,” a 15-minute excerpt from their 2-hour show “Sitayana.” 

The show is the dance group’s interpretation of a folktale about virtuous Sita and her husband Prince Rama that is familiar to and loved by Indians. It combined classical dance and classical theatre, and captivated the audience in an enchanting world from another century.

Canada’s oldest Indian dance company, founded in 1978, presents its shows to elementary school children to introduce Indian classical dance to young people.

Artistic director Thakkar was a recipient of the 2013 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan