This is my first visit to Egypt, I have been longing to come here for 15 years, I have been dreaming about this moment and now my dream has come true, leading Odissi performers in India Kavita Dwibedi told Daily News Egypt. Dwibedi has been practicing the art of Odissi since the age of eight.
Against a background of the sleepy sitar sounds, the National Theater in Cairo opened its doors on Wednesday for a night of classical Indian dance and music, to commemorate to events: the 60-year anniversary of India s independence and 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Egypt.
The event was organized by the Maulana Azad Center for Indian Culture at the Embassy of India in Cairo, and sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi, with the support from the Ministry of Culture of Egypt.
Divided into two sections, the event began with classical Hindustani instrumental music, the focus of which was Purbayan Chatterjee s performance with the sitar, a 20-string plucked string instrument, considered to be one of the symbols of India. The second part of the performance included classical dance pieces in the graceful South Eastern Indian style of Odissi, presented by Kavita.
A classical dance style stemming from the South Eastern Indian state of Orissa, Odissi traces its origins back to the 2nd century BC. One of the most graceful and lyrical classical Indian dance styles, it combines energetic footwork, graceful hand gestures (mudras) and facial expressions (abhinaya), to portray characters and stories from the Indian opus Geetagobinda.
Dwibedi s performance included four dance routines, featuring a rhythmic piece, emphasizing dance technique, an abhinaya (expressional) piece, and a dance, portraying the beauty of India, specially choreographed by Dwibedi on the occasion of the 60-year anniversary.
There are many venues for the improvement of the relations between the two countries, commented Bashir Ahmed, director of Maulana Azad Center for Indian Culture at the Embassy of India in Cairo. The Center, established in 1993 with the aim of promoting Indian culture among Egyptians, offers language and yoga courses, weekly film screenings, exhibitions, resources for scholarly research and exchanges, and public access to its library of over 900,000 books.
Ms. Dwibedi, who described Egypt as a fascinating culture also added: I find Egypt and India very similar, and one of the things in which we are most alike is the respect and awareness of our own tradition.