Grab the extra dose of entertainment at the anniversary celebrations of Vishaal De Mal

There is an extra buzz in the air. Bright lights, loud music, enthusiastic crowd and an entertaining emcee add to the usual humdrum of shoppers. “Now, comes the King of Tanoura,” the announcement goes and a tall thin man covered from head to toe in a pink dress and black turban, starts twirling in the mall atrium. For the next half-an-hour he spins and twirls non-stop while doing tricks with water and props. The music ends and claps take over.

The ongoing event at Vishaal De Mal marks it’s first anniversary and is a welcome break from the summer lull. Young and old can unwind watching stunning dance and music performances, interactive games and programmes. The five-day event features two exciting performances – Tanoura dance by Egyptian dancer Khaled Zohde and European tube dance and tic-tac by Bulgarian juggler and artiste Ivan Yordanov.

“Tanoura is a traditional folk dance in Egypt and said to be 3,500 years old. I come from a city called ‘Zagazig Sharkia, famous for dancer and musicians,” says Khaled, who has been dancing Tanoura for 25 years. “Our family has been dancer for generations. In Tanoura, the trained dancer continuously twirls but the same movement can make anybody else feel giddy. The capacity differs for every dancer. I can twirl for a maximum of 2 hours. The key is to keep your centre of balance. Your legs should be strong. It needs lots of practice.”

Khaled who runs a dance school in Egypt has trained over 100 Tanoura dancers. “But, there are certain secrets of the art which are passed on only to the family heirs,” he says. “The costume and the dancer are also called ‘Tanoura’. The word in Arabic means ‘skirt’ and the dress weighs over 40 kg. There are extra fittings like led lights attached to the costume, these days.” He explains how the intricate colourful patterns on the dress play with the audience’s eyes as the dancer twirls.

“I have also experimented with Tanoura using props, water and fire. The dance is performed only by men during marriages, birthdays and Sufi festivals. I have performed in India for the past five years,” says Khaled, who is in Madurai for the first time. “But, any dance is beyond religion as the main purpose is to entertain and make people happy.”

The other enthralling dance performance, the event showcases is the European tube dance. Bulgarian dancer Ivan Yordanov, says, “This is a modern dance and is liked by kids. I have been dancing for 35 years and I learnt this on my own.” The tube is a human-shaped muppet made of wire mesh and cloth and weighs over 10 kg.

“For the audience, the tube dance is an amusing experience. But, it’s a difficult job while being inside the tube as you can’t see and can only hear the people cheering,” says Ivan. “When I was a child, a Romanian circus came to our town. Their acrobats enthralled me and that’s when I started to dance. I spent five hours a day dancing as a 14-year-old.” Ivan specialises in five varieties of dances including classic ballet and football tic-tac apart from juggling.

The anniversary celebration of Vishaal De Mal is on till April 7 from 4 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. The IPL matches are being screened at the food court as part of the event and there are also games and gift vouchers to be won.