Asian culture is an important aspect of UK culture and it's good that it was again reflected in various ways at the Edinburgh Festival: Never the twain …
Festival Theatre: High passions, bare flesh, sectarian tension and hormones running rampant … all in the name of a religious Hindu dance festival. Ellie Carr for The sunday
Herald enters the world of Asian theatre.
It’s a bitterly cold November night on the streets of Wembley. Young girls, dressed in flesh-baring finery, hair lacquered artfully into shape, hang around sizing up the talent as they prepare to dance the night away.
It could be any group of teenagers, powering up for an evening of alcopops, hard house beats and furtive gropes. But this lot, British Gujarati youngsters marking the Hindu festival of Navratri – literally, “nine nights” of dancing – are rather more carefully supervised than that. And the event they’re attending is, strictly speaking, a religious one, involving nightly communal dancing around the figure of Ambe Ma, an incarnation of the goddess Durga. click for more
******************************** Eastern culture takes its place centre stage
From The Sunday Herald
Tamasha Theatre are not alone in spicing up the Festival with eastern influences. This year’s International Festival music programme also featured two Asian strands. Connecting Cultures was a string of well-received concerts of music from China, Korea, Japan and India, juxtaposing the traditional with the contemporary. And there were five performances of Pansori, a Korean artform that combines storytelling and music (see review, page 10).
The Fringe has also been aflame with Asian input. The dance programme was led, as ever, by Indo-Japanese dancer Shakti. Celebrating her tenth visit to Edinburgh, her season at the Garage included a “greatest hits” strand 10 Years At The Fringe. click for more
******************************** You dancin'? Or trying to make a point?
Festival theatre: Strictly Dandia. King's Theatre, run ended
By Charlene Sweeney for The Sunday Herald
RAMPANTLY popular in India for decades, Bollywood films had their moment in the British spotlight last year. The opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bollywood-inspired musical Bombay Dreams was hailed with a month-long focus on Asian fashion and food by the Selfridges store. This year, with plays such as Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it's the turn of Indian theatre.
Strictly Dandia, by the Tamasha Theatre Company, who brought us the original stage version of successful Brit-flick East Is East, owes at least as much to Hollywood dance movies such as Saturday Night Fever and Dirty Dancing as it does Indian culture. click for more