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Sunday, August 21, 2011


The High Commission of India in South Africa and Teamwork Productions will present the Shared History, The Indian Experience Festival 2011. This is a celebration of contemporary and classical music, dance, literature, theatre, and food that takes place in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban from September 3 to 24.

Part of the annual international Arts Alive 2011 Festival, the event showcases the finest and most exceptional that the Indian culture has to offer, and provides an avenue for dialogue and collaborative work exchange between India and South Africa. The High Commissioner of India, Virendra Gupta, says, “The Shared History Festival is a unique celebration of plurality and the common heritage of India and South Africa. Over the years it has become a platform to showcase the best music, theatre, dance, and food from India."

There are a number of activities taking place in Durban.

Highlights of the 2011 Shared History Festival include for music-lovers: a mesmerising performance combining the folk traditions of Rajasthan, Rajasthan Josh, opens the festival. Kutla Khan, Nathoo Solanki, Chuggee Khan and the enchanting Patricia, use instruments like the Morchang, Bhapang Khartaal, Double flute, Nagara and Bamboo Flute and incorporate vocal styles ranging from the mystic Sufi traditions, bhajans and popular folk songs of Rajasthan. The performance will be interspersed with captivating dances like the Chari Dance, Kalbelia (Snake charmers’ dance) and Terah Taali. Catch them in Durban at the Blue Lagoon on September 10.

For theatre-lovers, Mahesh Dattani’s Dance like a Man will be presented in Durban at The Playhouse on September 13 and 14. The story of Jairaj and Ratna, two Bharatnatyam dancers past their prime, is contrasted with that of their daughter Lata, who is on the brink of establishing herself as a brilliant dancer. Her imminent success creates tension and jealousy, and the audience is drawn into the dark secrets of family relationships and conflicts between generations. The play probes the surface of the characters to question their deeper motivations, but the mode is comic rather than tragic, even though the concerns are serious, and you are never sure whether to laugh or cry. It is produced and directed by Lillete Dubey. Playwright Dattani is also one of the featured authors of the Words on Water Literature festival.

Dance-lovers can enjoy the world-renowned Astad Deboo’s Rhythm Divine at The Playhouse from September 15 to 17. Rhythm Divine believes dance is a system of ideas and together with music can enrich the moral, the material and the intellectual. Deboo walks the perimeter with eight Manipuri Thang -Ta dancers to create a universe. The result is a work that records the traces and clues of things to come. Thang-Ta, The Art of the Sword and Spear, is an exciting dance form that has been adapted from the ancient martial arts form of Manipur, in North East India. Deboo belongs to the honourable company of Ruth St. Denis, Lester Horton, and Astad Daforan who have combed through world cultures for material they could fruitfully combine with tradition.

The Shared History Festival has become a brand in its own right and is seen as an integral part of the Johannesburg and Arts Alive cultural calendar. Sanjoy Roy of Teamwork Productions, Festival director, says, “Now In its 5th year Shared History will be a unique celebration of ideas and content, presented in a spirit of collaboration between South African companies and those from India. Shared History is a platform for the arts which transcend language, social barriers and art forms.”

Main sponsors are First National Bank (FNB), Jet Airways, City of Johannesburg, and Incredible India. The associate sponsors are Airport Company South Africa (ACSA), Jindal, TaTa Africa, Rosy Blue and Bank of Baroda. Media partners are Zee TV, ETV- Sunrise and Rising Sun. The Festival’s official printer is Shereno Printers cc.

Booking is at Computicket.